Tuesday 17 January 2017

Race to find survivors as three rescued after 36-hour ordeal

Nick Squires Isola del Giglio, Italy

Published 16/01/2012 | 05:00

Costa Concordia cruise liner captain Francesco Schettino (R) is escorted by a Carabinieri in Grosseto January 14, 2012. Schettino, the captain of the Italian cruise liner that ran aground off Italy's west coast, was arrested on the charges of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship, police said on Saturday. Italian rescue workers were searching for nearly 40 people still missing early on Sunday, more than a day after the cruise ship with more than 4,000 on board capsized, killing at least three people and injuring 70. Picture taken January 14. REUTERS/Enzo Russo/ANSA (ITALY - Tags: DISASTER TRANSPORT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. ITALY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN ITALY
Costa Concordia cruise liner captain Francesco Schettino (R) is escorted by a Carabinieri in Grosseto January 14, 2012. Schettino, the captain of the Italian cruise liner that ran aground off Italy's west coast, was arrested on the charges of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship, police said on Saturday. Italian rescue workers were searching for nearly 40 people still missing early on Sunday, more than a day after the cruise ship with more than 4,000 on board capsized, killing at least three people and injuring 70. Picture taken January 14. REUTERS/Enzo Russo/ANSA (ITALY - Tags: DISASTER TRANSPORT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. ITALY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN ITALY
A couple feeds their child while sitting on a dock in front of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground off the west coast of Italy at Giglio island January 15, 2012.Teams were painstakingly checking thousands of rooms on the cruise ship for nearly 40 people still missing, more than a day after the huge vessel foundered and keeled over with more than 4,000 on board, killing at least three people and injuring 70. REUTERS/ Remo Casilli (ITALY - Tags: DISASTER MARITIME)
Combination photo shows a South Korean couple after they were rescued from the Costa Concordia cruise, which ran aground off the west coast of Italy, at Giglio island January 14, 2012. Early on Sunday, firefighters found the couple still alive in a cabin after making voice contact with them from several decks above, Italian media reported. About 40 people were still missing on Sunday more than 24 hours after an Italian cruise ship with more than 4,000 on board capsized off Italy's west coast, killing at least three people and injuring 70. REUTERS/Remo Casilli (ITALY - Tags: DISASTER TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY TRANSPORT TRAVEL)

THREE people were dramatically rescued from the cruise ship off the Italian island of Giglio yesterday, hours before divers discovered two bodies floating inside the darkened hull.

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A South Korean couple on their honeymoon were found alive when rescue officials heard their cries from inside a cabin on the Costa Concordia.

Rescuers celebrated another triumph a few hours later when Manrico Giampetroni, an Italian purser who worked on the ship, was winched to safety by a fire service helicopter.

Officials were still hearing voices within the stricken vessel, according to reports, suggesting there may be more survivors trapped inside.

Mr Giampetroni was flown to a hospital in nearby Grosseto, on the mainland, with a broken leg. "I never lost hope of being saved. It was a 36-hour nightmare," he said. He was injured when he slipped and fell as he ran down to the lower decks to help passengers escape from the listing ship, at around midnight on Friday. He broke his leg and was unable to escape.

His mother Giovanna Lazzarini (78) said she had only been able to speak to her son for a few minutes but hearing his voice was "like being born again".

Passengers compared the scenes of chaos and panic, and the inadequate warning they said was given for the ship to be evacuated, with the sinking of Titanic 100 years ago.

Video footage of the disaster showed dozens of plates falling off tables, skittering along the floor of one of the ship's restaurants and smashing against walls. The Concordia was at the start of a week-long tour of Mediterranean ports when it hit a rock off Giglio.

The South Korean couple were found, dazed but unharmed, in their cabin in a dry section of the ship in the early hours of yesterday. Divers found the bodies of two elderly men inside the hull, raising the death toll to five.

Cosimo Nicastro, of the coastguard, said rescuers were "hopeful" that other passengers or crew would be found alive inside air pockets on the ship.

Luca Cari, of the fire service, likened it to "a floating city" and said divers were painstakingly checking the 1,000ft-long vessel, cabin by cabin. Some of the missing are thought to be crew from Asian countries, and may not have understood instructions to abandon the ship.

"The gash in the hull is at the level of the machine room, which means that all the crew's cabins are under water," said Sergio Ortelli, the mayor of Giglio. Ennio Aquilino, a fire service commander from Grosseto, said: "It's like an immense cathedral, a labyrinth." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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