Divers Ramp Up Search for Cruise Ship Survivors – World
Authorities now say 29 people are missing from the Costa Concordia cruise liner that capsized of Italy’s Tuscany coast, including an American couple from Minnesota.
The number of missing rose from Monday, when officials only thought 16 people were missing.
Italian naval divers are using explosive charges to blast holes in the hull of the ship, trying to speed the search for survivors while the seas are calm. Officials say there’s a glimmer of hope that more survivors could be found.
Meanwhile, Costa Cruises, the company that owns the ship, is doing its best to disassociate itself from the captain, Francesco Schettino.
“The captain decided to change the route and he went into water he did not know in advance,” Costa Cruises chairman and chief executive Pier Luigi Foschi said.
Schettino will appear in court Tuesday. He’s accused of causing the wreck and abandoning ship before the more than 4,000 passengers could evacuate. At least six lives were lost in the disaster.
Investigators in scuba gear continue to comb the wrecked boat, trying to learn more about what happened.
Meanwhile, several of the surviving passengers are sharing their stories.
“It just felt like the Titanic all over again,” Megan Mauri recalled. “It was a very scary experience, just seeing everybody panic the way they did.”
“Everyone was just screaming and yelling and falling over, just really, really sad,” said Cindy Ananias, another survivor.
Coast Guard video shows passengers forming a human chain to lower one another into life boats.
Ananias says one couple handed her mom their baby, believing the Ananias’ were in a better position to survive the wreck.
“With the gravity, my mom couldn’t hold the child or the child was going to fall,” Ananias said. “There was no way she could still hold the baby. My mom gave it back and said ‘Be with your child.’”
The Ananias family still doesn’t know what happened to the baby.
Also among the missing are an American couple, Jerry and Barbara Heil from Minnesota. The parents of four were celebrating their retirement with the trip of a lifetime.