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On Saturday, lawyers representing the survivors of the wrecked Costa Concordia demanded that new drug tests be taken by Captain Francesco Schettino, after traces of cocaine were found on a sample of his hair.
According to MSNBC, Codacons, an Italian consumer protection group, said that traces of cocaine were found not only on the hair sample of the captain, but also in an envelope containing it and that it would be very unlikely for the drug to not appear in the captain’s urine or hair samples. Thus on Friday, Codacons ordered new testing, in order to confirm whether the results were valid or not.
Marcello Chiarotti, the forensic medical expert who carried out the toxicology test said, “the modest trace of cocaine was a marginal problem that absolutely doesn’t invalidate the results of the analysis.” Confidently, according to ANSA, he added, “We will be able to clear this problem up later; those who work in our field know that there can be problems like this.” Mr. Chiarotti is solid about the results and will hand them in to the prosecutors next week.
Forty-two hundred passengers and crew were on board when the cruise liner crashed into a reef a few hours after leaving an Italian port. The Associated Press reported that the boat started to tip over onto its side, leading passengers to panic and look for lifeboats. Sadly, evacuation was only ordered an hour after the incident, causing some passengers to jump overboard and swim to Giglio when a lot of lifeboats could not be used due to Concordia’s tilt. Thirty-two people have been reported dead and fifteen missing.
According to Reuters, several survivors of the cruise liner tragedy joined a Florida lawsuit accusing the ship’s owners of negligence and fraud. They asked for “$78 million in compensatory damages and at least $450 million in punitive damages, plus interest and attorney costs.”
“Plaintiffs found themselves in a listing, capsizing, sinking vessel without communication, direction, or help from the captain and misdirection from the crew from approximately 9:45 P.M. to approximately 11 P.M. and were left to fend for themselves,” the lawsuit said.
In the hopes that more bodies may be found, people have not stopped searching sections of the wreckage. Marc Jay Bern, a senior partner in one of the law firms that filed the suit said, “Only one cruise ship has gone down in over 100 years, the Titanic. Now the Costa Concordia will live in infamy with it.”
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