ITALY (CBSNewYork) — Search and rescue crews continued the search for survivors off the coast of Italy. The Costa Concordia was illuminated by flood lights as firefighters and divers searched for more victims including two Americans.
At least six people are dead and at least twenty-nine are still missing including a retired couple from Minnesota, CBS2’s Chris Wragge reported on the dangerous search for victims.
Pier Luigi Foschi the CEO of the company that owns the Costa Concordia says an investigation is underway to find out why the ship ran aground.
“We believe it has been human error as the Captain did not follow authorized route,” he said.
Captain Francesco Schettino denies allegations that he took the ship too close to shore and says that maps did not show that he was steering into rocks. Schettino could face charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship.
Schettino claims that the Concordia struck an unmarked reef, but officials say that the waters in the area are well charted.
An ameteur video from a few weeks ago shows that the Costa Concordia has sailed close to the shore before, performing the nautical version of a ‘fly-by’.
Passengers on the Costa Concordia seemed to have little confidence in their Captain and crew.
“I met the captain on my second day. My first impression was that he didn’t care anything about the ship,” said James Groff.
Passengers say that after impact the crew failed to tell them how serious the situation was.
“The staff had been reporting that everything was under control, but we were concerned with the tipping of the ship so we headed out to see where we needed to be,” said Cary Lukes, a passenger from Alaska.
Survivors say that there was chaos on board the ship as passengers rushed to lifeboats, but cruise line officials say that the staff acted appropriately during the evacuation.
Megan and Robert Mauri, of Lancaster Pennsylvania corroborated claims that the crew was ill-prepared to deal with the accident.
“You could not see any crew member, there was nobody to be found. Everybody was just running for their own safety, obviously because you want to get off the boat,” said Megan.
Added Robert,”If the evacuation procedure worked, there wouldn’t be six people dead.”
Officials instead pointed the blame towards the Captain saying that he,”took an initiative of his own will which is contrary to our written rules of conduct.”
Crews have recovered the ship’s black box . It should help investigators pinpoint the exact location of the Costa Concordia when the accident happened and reveal how the Captain responded to the emergency, he will be in court tomorrow.
What do you make of this tragedy? How safe did you feel on your last cruise? Let us know in our comments section below…