Russel Rebello's family prepares to finally lay him to rest

Feb 21, 2015, 07:38 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Rebello family anxiously waits for the mortal remains of Russel to reach the city, as they prepare for his funeral on Sunday afternoon

After more than three years of grief, the Rebello family will finally get the closure it deserves. The mortal remains of Russel Rebello are expected to reach the city tonight, as his family prepares for his funeral on Sunday afternoon.

Also read: 3 years after Costa tragedy, Russel Rebello to be laid to rest in Mumbai

Kevin arrived in Mumbai on Friday from Italy after getting the clearances for his brother’s remains to be transferred to India. Pic/Atul Kamble
Kevin arrived in Mumbai on Friday from Italy after getting the clearances for his brother’s remains to be transferred to India. Pic/Atul Kamble

Russel was a part of the Costa Concordia cruise liner that sank on January 13, 2012; he died saving lives of passengers on board. The Naigaon family however is still anxious, after they learnt that the Turkish Airlines flight carrying Russel’s coffin was cancelled owing to bad weather.

mid-day report on February 12
mid-day report on February 12

Speaking to mid-day, Kevin, his brother said, “Due to heavy snowfall, the airlines carrying the remains of my brother could not depart from Istanbul to Mumbai. The airlines are looking for alternative arrangements; we need to remain patient.”

Kevin had earlier stated that all the diplomatic and bureaucratic clearances were obtained to bring Russel’s remains to the country. “All the papers arrived for his departure and his coffin was transported to the airport by a local undertaker from Genoa to Milan and then on Turkish Airlines for Mumbai.”

Kevin, who returned to the city yesterday morning, said that minutes before he was going to take the Emirates flight, the Chief of Civil Protection, Franco Gabrielli, met him and gave him a carving of the Ashoka Emblem.

“I was deeply touched by his gesture and I am thankful to the Italian state for everything they have done for my brother and my family till date,” he said.

Remembering Russel
“From the time of the disaster, every message that my brother has received, on Facebook and otherwise, I had copied to a file. There were more than 2,000 messages; almost 40 pages of notes, ‘get back soon’ messages, prayers, memories, photos and fun moments that people have shared with Russel.

I printed all these messages and cut them into strips, and tossed them into the sea, close to where the ship sank. I prayed that all our messages reach him.” After landing at Mumbai airport, Kevin said that Russel’s coffin should arrive either on Saturday.

“After getting the papers cleared, we would be able to claim the coffin. The undertaker from Vasai will keep the coffin till the time of his funeral, and will then bring it home. The funeral will take place at 3 pm at the Mother of God church in Naigoan. We are expecting over 1,000 people to attend his funeral.”

Vikram Pinto, Russel’s brother-in-law said, “We have made all the funeral arrangements, including hiring the services of the local undertaker. We found out that the Turkish airlines flight was cancelled and are hoping that his coffin arrives soon.”

Russel and Kevin’s mother, Gladys Rebello said, “I am worried and anxious after Kevin told us about the flight cancellation. We hope everything works out and we can finally lay our child to rest on Sunday. We are expecting a huge crowd to attend his funeral.”

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