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Shipwreck survivors arrive in Capital

A batch of 12 Indians rescued from the ill-fated cruise ship ‘Costa Concordia’ returned to Delhi on Thursday.

delhi Updated: Jan 20, 2012 00:05 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times

A batch of 12 Indians rescued from the ill-fated cruise ship ‘Costa Concordia’ returned to Delhi on Thursday.

The cruise liner had ran aground off the Tuscan coast in Italy on January 14 and sank after crashing into a reef.

The rescued Indians were flown to Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport from Italy in an Emirates flight (EK 8512) via Dubai, which landed here at 11.27am. A total of 81 rescued Indians were flown to different cities including Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Trivandrum and Tiruchirappalli, on Thursday.

The 81 were part of the 200 Indian crew members who were onboard the Italian cruise liner. Out of the 12 crew members who reached Delhi on Thursday, five got off in Delhi and the remaining seven took connecting flights to Goa and Kolkata.

“I am happy to be back in my country, but I will go back and rejoin the company, as they were very helpful,” said Kandari Surjan Singh, 28, who hails from Dehradun and has been working onboard the cruise liner for the last three years.

“The route of the ship was well-known as it went on weekly tours regularly, but the captain took a different route this time,” he said, adding, “We were sailing too close to the coast just before the ship went down,” he said. Singh said prompt action by Italian rescue authorities helped in controlling the death toll.

Of the nine survivors who seperately reached Chennai on Thursday, one Vaithiyanathan Arjunan excitedly yelled, “Only the lord has saved me.”

Union minister of state for external affairs, E Ahamed, received the survivors as scores of officers guided eight of the nine survivors into waiting vehicles to take them to the railway station to catch the Rockfort Express to Thiruchirapalli.

Bhuvanesh, another survivor, thanked everyone, especially the Indian embassy officials, who’s help made their return possible.

The ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, who allegedly manoeuvred the ship too close to the coast, has been arrested, along with the ship’s first mate.

The cruise liner was carrying more than 4,200 people, many of whom were having dinner at the restaurant when it hit a reef. While 11 people were killed, 60 were injured. Another 15 are missing.

First Published: Jan 19, 2012 13:20 IST