Last 5 Indian crewmembers to reach home today

Jan 21, 2012, 06:45 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

The last batch of five Indian crewmembers aboard the wrecked Costa Concordia finally left Rome on Friday and will arrive in India today.
There were 202 Indians on the ill-fated ship one passenger and the rest crewmembers. Of them, 201 were rescued and 33-year-old Russel Rebello from Mumbai is missing. One of the rescued, whose wife is an Italian national, has decided to stay back.

Confirming the news, the Indian Embassy's first secretary Vishwesh Negi in Rome said, "The delay was basically due to some typing error in spelling the names of some of the crewmembers and the same had to be rectified first."

Search stalled
Negi added, "Since the sea is rough and the ship has started changing its position, search operations are being hampered resulting in waste of precious man-hours. 21 people are still missing."

Also one of the biggest challenges before rescuers is to identify the nationalities of those whose bodies have been fished out.

"The local agencies are not releasing any information on the same even to us, unless they are doubly sure about their findings," Negi added.

The corpses have been kept at a hospital in Giglio, the base of the entire search operations. When asked if DNA tests are being considered for identification, Negi said, "We have not been kept in the loop about the methods that are being used by the local agency to establish the identity and nationality of the unclaimed bodies."

Meanwhile, the Costa shipping company in Italy contacted the Indian Embassy officials and informed them that they would bear all the expenses including hotel stay for Kevin, Russel's brother, who is assisting search operators locate the missing crewmember. "We are still hoping for a miracle," said Vikram Pinto, Russel's brother-in-law.

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