On Wednesday divers pulled human remains from the still-submerged third deck of the Costa Concordia, more than two years after the majestic vessel sank off the coast of Italy. The grim discovery is believed to be the remains of Russel Rebello, a waiter last seen helping other passengers to safety. Remains from all other victims have been found. The next step is a DNA test, which could be done within days. “I’m absolutely hoping it’s my brother,” said Kevin Rebello, who met the wrecked ship in Genoa, where it’s being prepared for scrap. “Of course there is sadness but we’re also waiting for relief—we’re waiting for closure.”
Rebello also got a call from Captain Francesco Schettino, who was in charge of the ship on the night it ran aground, killing 32-people in a frantic, full-dark evacuation. He is standing trial for manslaughter charges, among others, and may spend as much as twenty years in prison. But he insists he’s innocent, and on Monday he lectured university students on the art of “panic control."
On the same day, he showed no sign of remorse on the phone with Kevin Rebello, asking for an update on the search for Rebello's brother.“No, there was no apology,” Kevin said. “I don’t recall him ever mentioning that he was sorry about everything. All he said, the closest he came, was that he said, 'Some things in life should never happen.'" Still, Rebello isn’t yet blaming the Captain, who has become a regular voice on the line. As for the remains, he says, “let’s wait and see.”
First published August 6 2014, 1:39 PM
Tony Dokoupil is a senior writer for NBC News and the host of "Greenhouse," a new MSNBC show about the life and much-predicted death of our old familiar globe.
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He joined NBC News in September of 2013 and contributes scripts and features to NBCNews.com, along with reporting across NBC platforms, including the Today Show and Nightly News.
He's also the author of "The Last Pirate," a book about his father and the pre-legal world of smuggled marijuana. The New York Times called it, "a probing, exuberant memoir" and People Magazine said the story "will fill you with hope."
Dokoupil joined NBCNews.com from The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, where he was a senior writer. In that role, he was a host of BeastTV and he wrote numerous cover stories, including "The Suicide Epidemic," "iCrazy" and "Dustoff 73." His story "The Last Dive" and the original video became Newsweek's first video cover.
He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. with his family.