Russel's shoes help Rebellos find closure

On January 13, 2012, Russel Rebello, a 32-year-old waiter aboard the Costa Concordia was seen in grey shoes, a grey sweater and black jeans. Yesterday, Italian divers searching the wreck of the sunken ship for two unaccounted bodies, found a skeletal remain with grey shoes, leading them to believe that the remains belong to Russel.

Wait is over: Russel’s parents, wife and brother Kevin (left) will wait for DNA results before they bring his remains home. File pics

“The remains have been found by rescuers on the third deck,” of the cruise ship, said civil protection agency spokeswoman Francesca Maffini. “Several elements make us say that they could relate to the body of the young waiter of Indian nationality, Russel Rebello,” she said, adding that the man’s family had been informed of the discovery.

Thirty bodies were recovered from the wreck, but two -- Italian passenger Maria Grazia Trecarichi and Indian waiter Russel Rebello -- are still officially reported missing.

When Kevin, Russel’s elder brother heard the news, he could not believe it at first. Speaking to MiD DAY from Milan, an anxious Kevin said, “I could not believe it initially, But 10 minutes later, I received a phone call from the authorities and even the mayor of Giglio confirmed the spotting of a skeleton that matches the description of Russel.”

Kevin added, “On that unfortunate evening, Kevin was last seen in black jeans, a grey sweater and grey shoes near the fourth deck helping passengers off the ship, which leads me to believe that the remains could be of Russel.”

Animal remains?
The search for the wreck’s two remaining bodies began in late September after the 104,000-tonne ship was lifted upright in the biggest salvage operation of its kind. Italian divers had found some bones near the central part of the ship on September 26, but it was later believed to be animal remains.

Kevin explained that the ship was carrying tonnes of pork and beef and that what the divers had found could have been the food instead of human remains.

He, however, added that nothing was sure, as DNA examinations were still under process and only after the tests were completed, it would be confirmed. “From the description given to me by the authorities, it seems that they have found Russel but unless the DNA results are not out I won’t be going to Giglio to claim the mortal remains,” he further stated, adding that divers had only spotted the remains and it would take another day or so to retrieve the remains and send it for testing.

Reality kicks in
“I had almost accepted that the vast ocean had become Russel’s tomb but, this development has changed thanks to the search team who has helped me to come to terms with reality,” said Kevin.

He further added, “Had it not been for the support and prayers of people, who are unknown to me, it would have been impossible to find the remains of Russel. I will wait for DNA confirmation before I decide to bring his remains home.”

When asked if he had informed his parents back home, Kevin replied in the affirmative.

Incidentally, Kevin too was wearing a black trouser and grey sweater when he received the news of his brother.

Let’s go and do this Giglio s***: Costa captain
Captain of the Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, told his crew ‘Let’s go and do this Giglio s*** then’ before taking the cruise liner within half a mile of island on night of disaster. Captain Schettino ordered his navigator to change route so that the ship passed within just a few hundred yards of Giglio, far off its designated course, a court heard on Tuesday. “Let’s get really close to Giglio, I love doing these salutes. Let’s go and do this Giglio s***,” the captain told his crew, as the ship prepared to set out from the Italian port of Civitavecchia on the night of January 13, 2012.
-- Agencies

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