DNA Testing To Resolve Identities of Remains found near Concordia Cruise Ship
In another tragic twist to the ongoing saga of the now defunct Concordia cruise ship, remains have been found by divers which will be subjected to DNA analysis to determine if they are in fact those of a passenger from the fallen ship.
The Concordia ran aground in the shallow waters near Giglio Island, Italy, more than 20 months ago causing 32 deaths and leaving the ship partially submerged just off the coast. The tragedy has put cruise ships around the world on notice regarding their safety practices and brought the Concordia Cruise Company and its charges under heavy scrutiny. Members of the crew, including Captain Francesco Schettino have faced criminal and civil charges resulting from the doomed voyage. There still remain two victims, a female Italian citizen who was a passenger, and an Indian waiter, whose bodies have yet to be recovered in the wreckage.
Remains found near, not in crashed vessel
The Civil Protection Chief, Franco Gabrielli, in a recent press conference informed reporters that the families have been notified at this early stage even though it is unknown at this time if the remains are those of the missing passenger and crew, or simply a body recovered in the nearby vicinity of the crash scene. A plausible but unlikely result could be that the body will be neither the Italian woman or Indian man but an unknown person who could have simply drowned in the popular tourist destinations green-blue waters.
The remains in question will be subjected to DNA testing using family members from the missing passengers’ families to determine a match. The remains were located near the ship in a place where they were subjected to heavy damage and now a year plus of ocean water which has left them unrecognizable. There is evidence that the location of the ship near where the body parts were located is also where witnesses have placed seeing both the missing persons in question.
A tragedy with questions remains
Sadly for members of those families who had loved ones perish on the Concordia vessel, there are still many unanswered questions as to what caused the accident. While it is known that Captain Francesco allegedly took the ship too close to an existing reef system, there still remain questions as to why the ship’s computers were not alerted nor responded to the impending crash.
A team of experts from the Civil Protection Agency has continued sending divers into the ship even as it undergoes a move to a scrap yard and off the sea floor. The agency hopes that the ship’s computer navigation system, operating much like a black box on an airplane, may help solve questions as to why the ship ran aground.
The captain of the Concordia, regardless of these findings, is still facing a trial for the alleged manslaughter of the 32 souls lost that day. He has been severely criticized for his subsequent behavior once the ship crashed, allegedly abandoning ship prior to the evacuation of passengers. Captain Francesco faces as much as 20 years in Italian prison for the crash but still contends that the reef system which the ship tore into was not identified on the ships nautical charts. Regardless of this omission, critics contend that is response as the captain of the ship to the emergency is what he is guilty of and this behavior in of itself is what led to so many casualties.
Five other crew members of the Concordia who were also facing unrelated charges have since made plea agreements in exchange for lenient sentences. The Italian prosecutor in Florence has contended that those lenient sentences will be eventually ruled illegal and the crew will face prison time once again.