Rescuers resumed searching the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship Thursday, a day after the search was temporarily suspended because the ship shifted. Although the chances of finding anyone alive in the icy waters are slim, the Italian Coast Guard has not yet changed rescue operations to recovery. Coast Guard spokesman Cosimo Nicastro said rescuers will blast holes in the side of the vessel Thursday to make search efforts easier.
So far, eleven bodies have been recovered from the stricken vessel. At least 24 passengers remain missing and are feared dead. The Costa Concordia was carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew when it struck rock and capsized Friday night off the Tuscan island of Giglio. Survivors say chaos ensued almost immediately as there seemed to be no direction or leadership from Captain Francesco Schettino or top crew members.
Schettino and his second-in-command had already fled the Costa Concordia in a lifeboat when Schettino spoke to an Italian Coast Guard official. The official, Gregorio De Falco, ordered him to return to the ship to direct the evacuation, but Schettino remained in his lifeboat.
“There are people trapped on board. Now, you go with your lifeboat. Under the bow of the ship, on the right side, there is a ladder. You climb on that ladder and go on board the ship. Go on board the ship and get back to me and tell me how many people are there. Is that clear?” Falco told Schettino, according to a transcript of the conversation.
“You get back on board! That is an order! There is nothing else for you to consider. You have sounded the ‘Abandon Ship.’ Now I am giving the orders. Get back on board. Is that clear? Don’t you hear me?” Falco yelled.
Schettino has been arrested and could be charged with shipwreck, abandoning ship and manslaughter for fleeing the ship while passengers and crew remained on board fighting for lifeboats.
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