Ten years on, Costa Concordia shipwreck still haunts survivors and islanders

Ester Percossi can nonetheless hear the screams, really feel the chilly and see the fear in individuals’s eyes, write Gabriele Pileri and Philip Pullella.

She is without doubt one of the survivors of the shipwreck of the Costa Concordia, the posh cruise liner that capsized after hitting rocks simply off the coast of the small Italian island of Giglio on 13 January 2012, killing 32 individuals in one in all Europe’s worst maritime disasters.

Percossi and different survivors have returned to the island to pay tribute to the lifeless and once more thank the islanders who, at nighttime and lifeless of winter, helped 4,200 crew and passengers – greater than six occasions the variety of winter residents that evening.

“It is extremely emotional. We come here today to remember, most importantly, those who are no longer with us, and to relive the hell that we went through and try in some way to exorcise it,” Percossi stated on arrival on Wednesday forward of Thursday’s commemorations.


“I remember the screams of the people, the people who were jumping into the sea. I remember the cold, the sensation of terror in everybody’s eyes,” she stated.

While there have been many heroes that evening, the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, was not amongst them. Branded “Captain Coward” by Italian media for abandoning ship throughout the rescue, he was sentenced to 16 years in jail in 2017 on manslaughter expenses.

A general view of a lighthouse early in the morning on a day of the tenth anniversary of the Costa Concordia shipwreck that killed 32 people after it capsized and sank off shore, at Giglio island, Italy, January 13, 2022. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

One crew member who didn’t go away was Russel Rebello, a waiter who helped passengers get off the ship. His physique was recovered solely a number of years later, when the huge, rusting hulk was righted and towed away in the most costly maritime wreck restoration in historical past.


“My brother did his duty, he lost his life helping other people, obviously I am proud of that and I think that he would be very proud of what he did, helping so many other people,” stated Russel’s brother Kevin as he arrived for the commemorations.

The Concordia was left on its aspect for two-and-a-half years, wanting like a large beached white whale. For some residents, it by no means left.

On the evening of the catastrophe Sister Pasqualina Pellegrino, an aged nun, opened up the native college, the convent and a canteen to absorb the shipwrecked.

“It is a memory that never fades. Even when the ship was still there, it looked like a person who had been abandoned, it oozed sadness, because I could see it from the window,” Sister Pasqualina stated.

“And even now it’s not nice to remember it. But unfortunately that’s life, you have to keep going with the pain, with the joy, day by day,” she stated.

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