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Sunday, January 15, 2012

GIGLIO, Italy My Cousin Gian Benevento still missing from the cruise ship crash.

Please help I have a cousin Gian Benevento from Italy Missing that was on the cruise ship he was last seen holding onto a lifeboat 36 hours ago. This was the last picture taken of him seven hours before the Cruise Ship

Noi che preghiamo dalla tolleranza del signore che sarete cassaforte e suono trovati. Ma il tempo sta andando da così velocemente. Siamo nel timore che potete non essere trovati mai.  :(

GIGLIO, Italy — Three people were found alive on Sunday as rescuer workers continued to search a partly submerged Italian cruise ship resting just off this small island near the Tuscan coast.

Cruise Ship Runs Aground in Italy

Early Sunday, an Italian fire brigade found a honeymooning couple from Korea alive inside a cabin of the Costa Concordia, which was resting on its side with a gash just below the waterline and a rock stuck in the hull. A brigade spokesman, Luca Cari, said the couple had been taken to a local hospital.

Later, an Italian man, who was identified in media reports as a crew member, was taken from the ship by helicopter. The man was thought to have a broken leg.

At least three people were killed when the Costa Concordia, carrying 4,200 passengers and crew on a weeklong Mediterranean cruise, slammed into an undetermined object near the island Friday night as passengers for the late seating had just started dinner, tucking into appetizers of grilled mushrooms and scallops.

On Sunday, media reports described rescue workers in boats circling the big ship, tapping on the hull, and listening for a response. Divers also combed the ship’s underwater cabins for those still missing, up to 41 people.

Shaken survivors spoke of a mad crush to flee a sinking cruise ship off the Tuscan coast, raising questions about the crew’s preparedness, Italian authorities arrested the ship’s captain amid concerns that the megaship had steered dangerously off course.

Anxious survivors, many comparing the experience to the movie “Titanic,” recounted a chaotic and terrifying scene in which some crawled through hallways to escape down perilous ladders to lifeboats, while others leapt overboard into the wintry Tyrrhenian Sea.

“In a moment, everything was up in the air,” said Alessandra Grasso, 24, a passenger from Sicily. “People, chairs, glasses, food.”

Ulrike Schweda, 63, from Germany, was caught in a crowd of people pushing toward a lifeboat, and slipped on the deck. “The most terrible thing was seeing children trying to get down this ladder they had put on the side of the boat,” she said.

Two French citizens and a Peruvian crew member were reported dead, according to a hospital official in Grosseto, Tuscany.

Divers searched until nightfall Saturday for the missing, perilously probing the 2,000 cabins for survivors while the Leviathan ship lay on its side in the water, a boulder poking through a 160-foot gash in its hull. The Italian Coast Guard said 41 people were still unaccounted for.

The coast guard is also monitoring the environmental impact of the accident, but as of Sunday morning, no oil had seeped into the ocean from the ship. “We are optimistic and hope that the ship is not going to slide further down,” Cmdr. Cosimo Nicastro, a spokesman for the coast guard, told reporters. “But the weather conditions are slowly worsening, and that is a cause of concern.”

There were conflicting reports about whether the ship was off course in reef-filled waters just miles from the shore or whether an electrical failure had caused the crew to lose control. Passengers spoke of faulty evacuation procedures and unprepared staff who told them nothing was wrong — until the ship began tipping over.

After questioning him for several hours, the Italian police detained the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, and the first officer, for questioning on charges of manslaughter, failure to offer assistance and abandonment of ship, the police said.

Before his detention, Captain Schettino told Italian television that the ship had hit a reef that was not on its navigation charts.

Gianni Onorato, the president of the Costa cruise company, a subsidiary of Carnival Cruise lines, said the ship had been sailing its “regularly scheduled itinerary” from Civitavecchia to Savona, Italy, when it struck “a submerged rock.”

He said Captain Schettino “immediately understood the severity of the situation” and “performed a maneuver intended to protect both guests and crew.”

The Italian coast guard said the captain had tried to turn the ship toward port in Giglio to make an evacuation easier, but it began to tip over as it reached the port.

Local media reports said the ship had passed between the Tuscan coast and Giglio, a popular tourist destination 18 miles offshore, rather than in the open sea on the far side of the island. The newspaper Corriere della Sera cited local fishermen who said it was uncommon for a ship the size of the Costa Concordia to take that route.

However, Cristiano de Musso, a cruise company spokesman, said the ship had not deviated from the course it follows “52 times a year.”

Passengers described scenes of chaos as they tried to evacuate. Ms. Grasso said waiters instructed diners to remain seated even as the ship began listing. The captain initially told passengers that the ship had an electrical problem, according to media reports.

Once she boarded a lifeboat, Ms. Grasso said, the helmsman appeared ill equipped to bring the scores of travelers on his vessel to safety: he kept banging into the ship, unable to steer the lifeboat to the shore, until a passenger shoved him aside and took the lead.

“No crew member was trained for an evacuation,” she said.

A crew member, Fabio Costa, told BBC News that he had been working when he heard a crash. “We had no idea how serious it was until we got out and we looked through the window,” he said. “We saw the water coming closer and closer.”

Of the struggle to reach the lifeboats, as passengers pushed one another and stumbled on stairs amid falling objects, Mr. Costa said, “People panicking and pushing each other didn’t help at all.”

Mr. Onorato, the cruise company president, said only that the captain “initiated security procedures to prepare for an eventual ship evacuation.” He did not respond to further questions on the matter.

The cruise company said that the passengers included about 1,000 Italians, 500 Germans and 160 French, and the crew numbered about 1,000. The United States State Department estimated that 126 Americans had been onboard. It was not known whether any were among the missing.

Giancarlo Sammatrice, 22, a cook from Vittoria, Sicily, was on vacation with his girlfriend. “I have always been scared of those boats, but my girlfriend kept on saying that it was romantic, and I gave in,” he said. “There were not enough lifeboats. The pilots were not sailors but waiters who had no idea how to maneuver and kept on having us turning in circles.”

“It was the first and certainly the last cruise of my life,” he said.


  1. Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET:
    Divers searching for missing passengers and crew from the capsized Italian cruise ship found two more bodies on Sunday but are facing dangerous obstacles themselves.

    The vessel could suddenly move and sink into deeper waters, and floating objects inside the ship as well as muck are hindering divers.

    "There are tents, mattresses, other objects moving which can get tangled in the divers' equipment," Italian Coast Guard Cmdr. Cosimo Nicastro said Sunday.


    Officials were going to huddle soon to see how long the underwater search could safely continue, he said.

    In order to find their way out, divers are using a long cord they hook near the point of entrance and unroll as they work.

    Three people have been found alive after most of the 4,200 passengers and crew escaped on life boats, but 5 are confirmed dead and 15 more are missing.

    Updated at 10:40 a.m. ET:
    Two more bodies were recovered from the capsized Italian cruise ship, raising the official death toll to 5, as investigators looked into accusations that the captain abandoned ship early.

    The bodies of two elderly men still in their life jackets were recovered by divers at the emergency gathering point near a restaurant area. Fifteen people are still unaccounted for. Two of those are U.S. citizens, the U.S. Embassy in Rome said.

    Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia, is taken into custody in Grosseto, Italy, on Saturday.

    Updated at 10:10 a.m. ET:
    Two survivors of the Italian cruise ship that hit a reef are among those who said the captain abandoned ship early. A prosecutor earlier said he's investigating those allegations.

    Ophelie Gondelle and David Du Pays of Marseille, France, said they saw the captain in a lifeboat, covered by a blanket, well before all the passengers were off the ship. They insisted on telling a reporter what they saw, so incensed that — according to them — the captain had abandoned the ship before everyone had been evacuated.

    "The commander left before and was on the dock before everyone was off," said Gondelle, 28, a French military officer.

    "Normally the commander should leave at the end," said Du Pays, a police officer who said he helped an injured passenger to a rescue boat. "I did what I could."

    Updated at 7:25 a.m. ET:
    An Italian prosecutor confirms he's investigating allegations from passengers and others that the captain of the cruise ship Costa Concordia abandoned the stricken liner before all the passengers had left.

    Officials believe the ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, had brought the 114,500-tonne vessel too close to the shore, where it struck the rock, tearing a large gash in the hull

  2. Divers found the bodies of two elderly men inside a capsized cruiseliner on Sunday, raising to five the death toll after the luxury vessel foundered and dramatically keeled over off Italy's coast.

    Teams were painstakingly checking the interior spaces of the partly submerged Italian liner Costa Concordia for 15 people still unaccounted for after the huge ship, with 4,229 passengers and crew on board, was holed by a rock Friday night.

    A day after the disaster, rescuers plucked a South Korean honeymoon couple and an injured crewmember alive from the wreck, lying on its side close to the beautiful island of Giglio off Italy's west coast.

    The captain of the 114,500-tonne ship, Francesco Schettino, was arrested on charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship, Italian police said. Some 64 people were injured Bonus!

    Click to reveal

  3. Search-and-rescue divers today blasted holes in the hull of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground off Italy's Tuscan coast as they accelerate a frantic search for 29 missing passengers and crew members, as well as a second black-box recorder.

    A top coast guard official, Marco Brusco, said on state TV late Monday that 25 passengers and four crew members have not been found in the wreckage of the ship, including a 5-year-old girl.

    Rescue teams searching for survivors blasted through the vessel's hull today, creating large holes for better access to lower decks of the ship.

    Navy spokesman Alessandro Busonero told Sky TV 24 the micro-charges set early today created four openings to allow divers "to enter easily for the search." The holes were made both above and below the water level, the Associated Press reported.

    Operations are now in motion to retrieve a second black-box recorder that has been located in the wreckage, Warrant Petty Officer Massimo Macaroni of the Italian Coast Guard told ABC News. The device, along with another recorder that has been found, will be analyzed by prosecutors and provide authorities with "a complete picture of how the disaster unfolded," CNN reported.

    Genoa-based Costa Cruises, which operates more than a dozen Italian-flagged ships, is controlled by Carnival Corp. of Miami.

    The number of people reported missing continues to fluctuate, as the coast guard said all but 16 people -- including a couple from Minnesota -- had been accounted for. The official number rose after officials in other countries had reported higher numbers of missing citizens.