Russel still to be traced

Hectic search operations are on off the Tuscan sea waters as well as inside the 114,500 tonne cruise liner Costa Concordia which ran aground near Giglio, Italy, on Friday, for survivors, including Indian stevedore Russel Rebello who has been declared missing by the rescue parties.

The rescued 200 Indian crew members, with provisional travel documents prepared on emergency basis by Indian High Commission, in the last two days, are reportedly waiting in Rome to catch India-bound flight. Thirty-one-year-old Russel is the only untraced Indian crew member of the ship, which had 4,200 people aboard when the mishap took place, according to his family members residing in Naigaum in the western region of Thane district.

The luxury liner, which toppled over after barging into rocks off Tuscan coast, had left six persons dead and 16 missing, including Russel.

Russel’s elder brother Kevin, a resident of Milan in Italy, after hearing the news had rushed to Tuscan coast.

Talking to Deccan Herald, Russel’s close friend and next-door neighbour Michael D’Costa said the family is in distress, “Though till noon we ourselves were at sea as to what was happening...Kevin just called up and said that Indian crew has been shifted to Rome, where after a headcount they would be boarding the flight.”

“All of us here-Russel’s parents, wife, three-year-old son Rhys, friends and relatives are just hoping for the best. Since Russel was unwell there is a strong possibility that he may not have been able to get out of the ship and may be trapped in the airpocket. The ship is just half-submerged. We are praying and keeping our fingers crossed,” D’Costa added.

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