MUMBAI: Twenty three Indians rescued from the ill-fated Italian Cruise line Costa Concordia, that slammed in to a reef off the Italian island of Giglio, reached Mumbai on Thursday evening.
It was an emotional reunion for the survivors, most of who were working on the ship as crew members. “It was surreal, can’t describe what it looks or feels like,” Rahul Raghav (25) said. Like other survivors he too left all his belongings – including his passport and other identity papers – on the ship before abandoning it. “He called us up to say that he was alright but I was very restless, now that I have seen him I am reassured,” an emotional Renu Raghav said.
The Costa Concordia was carrying more than 4,200 people when it ran aground shortly after starting a seven-day Mediterranean cruise on its way to Marseille in France and Barcelona in Spain. Eleven people have been confirmed dead and 23 are still missing, out of the 202 Indians on board only one person is missing. “Many people jumped, some sought seats in boats calmly but amidst the panic we had no idea what was the right thing to do…survicv
Ursula and John Pinto waited for over four hours at the airport to greet their son Patrick, “He told us that very moment that the ship is sinking. He said that he will take care but I could barely breath until he called us to say that he was safe in a hotel,” Ursula said as she recollected how she heard of the news. “The sight was unbelievable and so were the reactions, we were just running from here to there trying to do the safest thing that we could… it was a very difficult time. I don’t know the reasons why it happened but if could have been avoided, many lives could have been saved and many people would not have had the trauma of a near death experience,” Patrick said.
The families thanked the external affairs ministry for setting up help desks at the airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad,” Not only did they ensure that we are informed, the arranged or our children to reach us within days despite not having the passport. I have been told that the embassies were taking care of the survivors and provided them with some money. We are very grateful to them for helping them come back home,” Satish Kumar, relative of a survivor said.
Even though the mere mention of the accident brings back horrible memories the survivors said they would go back to the sea, “No doubt it was a horror scene but that does not mean that I will not go back. When there are blasts in local train we don’t stop taking the trains,” Patrick Pinto said as he left the airport with his parents for his residence in Thane.
Meanwhile family of the lone missing Indian tried to get in touch with other survivors to enquire about Russell Roberto. “I am happy for the families that are meeting their members, I wanted to ask if anyone can give me information regarding Russell that can help us,” Roberto’s brother in law Vikram Pinto said. The Costa Concordia is lying on its side just meters off the Tuscan island of Giglio and divers are trying to find more survivors. “I understand that there are less chances of him being at the sea but they might have counted him under some country’s survivor list,” Pinto said.(Eom)