Russel Rebello, the last victim of the Costa Concordia tragedy to be found by the search and rescue team, finally returned home, for the final time, on Saturday. Russel’s remains were found in November 2014, bringing closure, albeit laced with grief, to his family members, who can finally lay him to rest in their hometown of Naigaon on Sunday.
Early on Saturday morning, Russel’s embalmed remains were brought to Mumbai in a Turkish Airlines flight. Russel’s brother Kevin had to make a trip to Sahar police station, to get a no objection certificate (NOC).
Kevin is no stranger to bureaucratic proceedings. Kevin, who works in Italy, would rush to authorities whenever a body was discovered. His long wait came to an end only in November last year.
“We had returned from mass when we were told about the accident. While we had prayed for his safety, we had not imagined such an end, and such a long wait to lay him to rest,” said Vikram Pinto, Rebello’s brother-in-law.
Kevin said he has no intention of seeing his brother’s body. “I would like to remember Russel the way I saw him in 2009; not as a body wrapped up in a coffin. I want to keep happy memories of my brother,” he said.
When his remains were found in November last year, it took 70 days for DNA samples to confirm that they indeed belonged to Russel. The procedure was delayed as the courts were shut for five weeks during Christmas vacation, Kevin said.
Rebello is survived by his parents, wife Wilma and son Rhys, who has turned six. Rhys is yet to be told about his father’s death.