The cruise ship accident lawyers at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. have witnessed several strange incidents that have led to injuries at sea or vessel damage. However, a group of give German cruise ship passengers may have set a new record for lack of safety – and common sense – after being involved in an accident at sea in Italy.
According to the Italian Coastguard, five German cruise ship passengers boarded an inflatable boat and set off to get a close-up look at the wreckage of the Costa Concordia liner of the coast of the Italian island of Giglio. The group, which included two children, had to be rescued after their small vessel was hit by waves during a storm. Officials explained the group had been onboard the Costa Magica, a cruise vessel from the same Costa Cruises fleet as the Concordia, which crashed into some rocks last year following a move the captain ordered at the last minute known as a “salute.” A total of 32 people were killed as a result of the accident, and several hundred more were injured. The vessel Concordia still remains at the site of the aacident, serving as a reminder that maritime safety should never be ignored.
Clearly, the German group didn’t know much about maritime safety, or else they would not have set out onboard an inflatable raft, placing their lives at risk. The travelers had arrived at Civitavecchia, Italy and headed to Porto Santo Stefano in Giglio, where they rented the boat so they could take a closer look at the capsized Concordia. While the group managed to sail the 10 miles from Porto Santo Stefano to the Giglio Island without a hitch, the weather suddenly took a turn for the worse on their way back.
Miraculously, the boat stayed afloat and the victims were rescued by a coastguard vessel, which took the inexperienced boaters back to the mainland. Once on land, the group was given hot drinks and were wrapped in thermal blankets. They were examined by paramedics and then released to resume their cruise ship vacation.
However, the Coast Guard spoke out about the incident, pointing out the dangers of what the group had decided to do.
“It was a pretty stupid thing to do,” said a spokesperson for the Coast Guard at the port. “They were lucky that it ended as it did – they could have quite easily sank. The strong wind created high waves and they were having trouble controlling their inflatable boat. They were all cold and wet but grateful for the fact we were on hand.”
Although no one suffered serious injuries, the Coast Guard spokesperson said they highly doubt that the group will try anything that would jeopardize their safety like that, again.
“They suffered no lasting effects but we did tell them not to try anything similar in the future,” said the spokesperson.
It has been nearly one year since the Costa Concordia capsized on Jan. 13, 2012, and since then, the wreckage has become a macabre site for tourists, with thousands of sightseers eager to catch a glimpse of the underwater grave. The captain of the vessel, Francesco Schettino, is currently facing multiple charges of manslaughter as well as abandoning his ship, after he decided to alter the ship’s course to perform the salute. A trial is expected to start later this year, but the remains of the Concordia are not expected to be removed until this summer.