Costa Concordia: Relatives of missing face agonising wait
The relatives of the two people still missing from the Costa Concordia disaster embarked on a heart-wrenching wait for the discovery of their remains today, a day after the giant cruise ship was hauled upright.
The clouds of sediment will have to settle, and the badly mangled starboard side of the ship inspected, before divers and other searchers can enter.
"I hope that they will be able to make the ship secure quickly and then find my mother's body," Stefania Vincenzi, the 18-year-old daughter of Mrs Trecarichi, told The Daily Telegraph in her first interview with a British newspaper, as she looked at the wreck, half covered in brown algae and
She has been closely following the ongoing trial of the captain of the ship, Francesco Schettino, who is accused of recklessly sailing the vessel too close to Giglio and then abandoning ship before the evacuation of passengers and crew was completed.
"A lot of blame has been attached to him but I don't want to pass judgment," she said.
"No trial or sentence will bring back what I've lost."
Miss Vincenzi, who is a contestant in this year's Miss Italy beauty contest, is herself a survivor of the disaster – she was on board the ship with her mother and was part of the chaotic evacuation of the night of Jan 13, 2012.
She managed to get into a life boat but her mother did not, amid scenes of panic among the 4,200 passengers and crew.
"I've entered the Miss Italy contest as a tribute to my mother - we agreed that after I turned 18 I would enter and she was going to follow me every step of the way." Mrs Trecarichi had embarked on the Concordia for a week-long cruise of the Mediterranean to celebrate her 50th birthday.
Her husband, Elio Vincenzi, is with their daughter on the island.
"It is very moving to see the ship now that it has been raised out of the water," he told The Telegraph. "To see her in this state - a ship that was carrying so many people, including my wife - makes a very big impression on me."
He said he was "very hopeful" that the remains of his wife would be found inside the liner, after Italian authorities said they were "moderately optimistic" that they would be able to locate the body.
Mr Vincenzi, a maths teacher from Sicily, has visited Giglio many times since the disaster, and last year dived to a depth of 25 metres to place a plaque inscribed with his wife's name on the seabed, close to the rocks that the Concordia hit and which ripped a huge tear in its port side.
He has been briefed by the Italian coast guard about the operation to stabilise the ship, which he was told will take at least 48 hours.
"And then, hopefully, within a few days they will be able to enter the vessel," he said.
Kevin Rebello, 39, is the brother of Russel Rebello, 32, an Indian waiter who is the second person whose body was never recovered.
Immediately after the disaster, he spent four months on Giglio, waiting for news of his brother, and today wears a small silver medallion of the island around his neck.
Mr Rebello, Mr Vincenzi and Miss Vincenzi were ferried out to the wreck of the Concordia to throw bunches of white flowers into the sea in memory of their loved ones.
"We hope they can start work very soon," he said. "When they find the remains, my main priority will be to take him home and give him a decent burial. At least we will have a tomb to cry on. It will bring a bit of peace to my parents," said Mr Rebello, who lives in Milan, where he has a natural therapy business.
The Rebellos, who are Catholics of Goan background, are from Mumbai.
Russel Rebello died after giving his life jacket to another passenger, and helping terrified holidaymakers into life boats.
Asked whether he regarded his brother as a hero, Mr Rebello said: "He just did his job. He was not trying to prove himself. Unfortunately, he lost his life in the course of that. Maybe he was sucked into the ship when it went down. We hope his remains will be found inside."