Victims of Costa shipwreck mark anniversary

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 13, 2013 at 1:33 pm •  Published: January 13, 2013
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De Falco said he wanted to go to Giglio to "embrace the victims, and the relatives of the victims." De Falco said he has shied from media attention since the disaster out of respect for the victims.

"I'm not a hero," he told reporters in Giglio on Sunday. "I just did my job."

The 32 people who died included 12 Germans, seven Italians, six French nationals, two Americans — Barbara and Gerald Heil of White Bear Lake, Minnesota — two Peruvian crew members, one Hungarian, one Spaniard and an Indian.

Indian waiter Russel Rebello was one of the two victims whose bodies were never recovered. His brother, Kevin Rebello spent weeks on Giglio in the aftermath of the disaster awaiting word of the fate of his brother and said he couldn't sleep ahead of Sunday's anniversary.

"I have been constantly thinking it is going to be again the same agony, even tonight, because it is going to be the same exact moment when all this happened," he told The Associated Press on Sunday. "So my heart is beating a bit faster I guess."

Elio Vincenzi, the husband of Maria Grazia Trecarichi of Italy, whose body also was never recovered, wept as he presented a ceramic statue of the Madonna to Giglio's mayor as a gesture of thanks during a ceremony honoring the coast guard, firemen and other rescue crews.

The Concordia remains on its side, grounded off Giglio's port. Officials now say it may take until September to prepare the ship to be rolled upright and towed from the rocks to a port to be dismantled — an operation on a scale that has never before been attempted. The cost has swelled to €400 million ($530 million).

While Sunday's commemoration was focused on the relatives of those who died, Giglio's residents were also being remembered for having opened their doors to the survivors who came ashore that night, cold, wet and traumatized after a chaotic evacuation.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano sent a message of thanks to the island, praising its people for their "high sense of civic duty and humanity."

"It was something that was too big for us," said Giglio resident Silvana Anichini. "We are just not used to things like this, and then it turned out to be one of the biggest shipwrecks in the world."

Many survivors have stayed in touch with their Giglio hosts, connected in ways they never expected. Claudia Urru, who stayed home in Sardinia on the anniversary, says she speaks monthly with the Giglio family that took in her family and two other families that night. The hosts gave the survivors warm clothes and food.

For Christmas, her Giglio family sent a package of local sweets, and they have discussed having a reunion in Sardinia.

"This is the only thing good that has come of it," Urru said by phone last week.

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Winfield reported from Rome.

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Follow Nicole Winfield at www.twitter.com/nwinfield



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