Sunday 17 December 2017

Cruise disaster: Quest for violin costs entertainer his life

Sandor Feher returned to find his violin
Sandor Feher returned to find his violin
Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground, is being accused of cowardice. Photo: AP
Francisco Schettino, right, is under house arrest in Meta di Sorrento. Photo: AP
A satellite image of the Costa Concordia off the coast of the Italian island of Giglio taken by Digital Globe
Waves crash near the Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground off the west coast of Italy, at Giglio island. Photo: Reuters

Nick Squires

A HUNGARIAN musician who worked as an entertainer on the Costa Concordia died in the disaster after apparently delaying his escape to retrieve his violin.

Sandor Feher, 38, had helped children put on life vests but returned to his cabin to find his instrument, Jozsef Balogh, a fellow musician said. Mr Feher was named as one of the dead on Wednesday.

The search for possible survivors or more bodies was suspended Wednesday morning after instruments attached to the stricken ship showed it had moved nearly 5ft. Divers had been hoping to gain access to the fourth deck, where most of the bodies have been located.

There are fears that bad weather and rough seas today could shift the massive vessel and possibly send it plunging down a rock slope to a depth of 300ft.

A Dutch salvage firm, Smit, says it is ready to start pumping out the ship’s 500,000 gallons of diesel and oil, but Corrado Clini, the Italian environment minister, said the operation would not start until the search for the 22 people still missing was finished.

The relations of two of the missing – an Indian man and a Peruvian woman – arrived on the island of Giglio but hope is fading fast that anyone else will be found alive, given the freezing conditions and the fact that much of it is submerged.

Divers have found the spot where the $450 million cruise liner struck rocks, after the captain steered it too close to shore. After impact, the captain swung the ship around and grounded it on rocks near Giglio’s harbour.

Satellite tracking information showed that the ship sailed even closer to Giglio’s rocky shore last summer. Lloyd’s List told the BBC that the ship passed within 750ft of the island on Aug 14. Richard Meade, the editor of Lloyd’s List, said: “The company’s account of what happened, of the rogue master taking a bad decision, isn’t quite as black and white as they presented originally. This ship took a very similar route only a few months previously and the master would have known that.”

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