Concordia Disaster: Five More Bodies Found

January 17th, 20125:11 pm @


Concordia Disaster: Five More Bodies Found

The Italian coast guard has said five more bodies have been found inside the capsized Costa Concordia – taking the total number of dead to 11.

The bodies of four men and one woman in their 50s and 60s, all wearing lifejackets, were found together below the waterline at the front of the ship.

Filippo Marini, a coast guard spokesman, said: “The bodies were found close to where the bodies of two other victims were discovered. They were in a submerged section of the ship at the back.”

At least 24 people are believed to be missing after the latest discovery.

Search teams have been using explosives to blast holes in the half-submerged cruise ship but time is running out in the search for survivors.

Coast guard diver Rudolfo Raitere said: “The charges that were exploded in the morning facilitated the recovery of the five bodies.

“They helped clear a quicker and easier way to the back of the ship where the bodies were. They were on deck four, close to a muster station.”

Jerry and Barbara Heil

Jerry and Barbara Heil were on the holiday of a lifetime


Earlier authorities had announced 29 people were missing, including 14 German tourists, six Italians, four French citizens, two Americans and three people from Peru, India and Hungary.

Four of those missing were crew members and the rest were passengers.

US authorities have been appealing for information about a couple from Minnesota.

Jerry and Barbara Heil, from White Bear Lake, were on a 16-day once-in-a-lifetime holiday.

The couple, aged 69 and 70, are devout Catholics who spend much of their time volunteering at their local church.

Fox News reports that their daughter Sarah Heil told WBBM radio in Chicago they had been looking forward to their trip.

“They raised four kids and sent them all to private school, elementary to college, so they never had any money,” Sarah Heil said.

“So when they retired, they went travelling. And this was to be a big deal, a 16-day trip. They were really excited about it.”

A Peruvian crew member listed as missing has been named as tourism student Erika Soria.

The 26-year-old’s father Saturnino told Peruvian TV: “My concern is that the authorities intensify their search and find my daughter wherever she is.

“She has to be found, dead or alive. The pain of not knowing what’s happened to her is killing us. I haven’t given up hope of seeing her alive again.”

Italian Maria D’Introno, 30, had boarded the ship along with her new husband Vincenzo Rosselli, 40, and several members of their families to celebrate both their marriage and also a 50th wedding anniversary.

All apart from Ms D’Introno reached the safety of the shore by jumping into the water and swimming to a nearby headland while wearing life jackets.

She has not been seen since Friday night.


Peruvian tourism student Erika Soria (C) is missing


Besides the honeymooning bride, five-year-old Dyana Arlotti and her father William from the Italian seaside resort of Rimini are also missing – they were last seen clutching onto a rope as Friday’s chaotic evacuation took place.

And the widow of a Frenchman who died in the ship has described how her husband sacrificed himself by giving her the only life jacket they had.

Nicole Servel, 61, said that as she jumped into the icy waters off the coast of Tuscany, her husband Francis shouted to her not to worry and that he would be all right.

His body was later found in the wreckage.

Mrs Servel said: “I owe my life to my husband. He said to me ‘jump, jump’. And as I don’t know how to swim, he gave me his life jacket.”

The ship’s captain Francesco Schettino, 52, has been in custody since Saturday on suspicion of multiple manslaughter and abandoning the Concordia when dozens of passengers were still onboard and had not been safely evacuated.

He faces a maximum of 15 years in jail if convicted.

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