201 Indians rescued from Italian ship, one missing

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ROME: One Indian is missing in a luxury cruiser drowning incident off the Tuscan coast in Italy while 201 crewmembers from the country have been rescued, officials said here on Monday.

As efforts were on to trace the missing Indian, the Indian government set up control rooms both in New Delhi as well as here to facilitate information about the rescue.

Indian embassy officials here said while one Indian named Mr Russell Terence Rebello, who was a waiter on the ill-fated Costa Concordia, was yet to be traced and efforts were on to verify other details about him, no casualty among the Indians has been reported so far.

The incident, which happened on Saturday, left six persons dead. The ship hit a reef or rock near the Tuscan island of Giglio, before it went down.

Spokesman of the Indian embassy here, Mr Visvesh Negi, told PTI that "there were a total of 203 Indians on the ship — one passenger and 202 crewmembers".

In Delhi, the ministry of external affairs said it has set up control rooms to deal with enquiries about the Indians onboard the ship.

"Out of the 202 crewmembers, 201 have been traced and are safe. One person is missing. We are coordinating with the Italian government and trying to trace the missing crew," Mr Negi said.

The Indian ambassador to Italy, Mr Debabatra Saha, along with two Indian officials, visited the accident spot and is coordinating the rescue operation.

The External Affairs Minister, Mr S M Krishna had ordered immediate action to help the Indians onboard the ship, and had also asked Mr Saha to reach the spot.

Mr Krishna told his officials that there is no need for any papers, proof or documentation as the safety of Indians was the first option.

The luxury liner, Costa Concordia, was carrying more than 4,200 people, many of whom were having dinner at the restaurant, when it hit a reef or rock near the Tuscan island of Giglio.

While as many as 60 persons were injured in the incident, 15 persons, including crew and passengers were still unaccounted for.

The owner of the luxury liner Costa Crociere indicted the captain of the ship, saying he had made "errors of judgement", while conceding that the management of the emergency had not followed company procedures.

Captain Francesco Schettino and first officer Ciro Ambrosio was arrested on Saturday.

Prosecutors said Capt Schettino had left the liner "well before" the last passengers were evacuated.

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