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. He joined NBC News in September of 2013 and contributes enterprise feature stories to NBCNews.com, reporting on the legal pot trade, mystery illnesses, ghost towns, and much more. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.
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Dokoupil joined NBCNews.com from The Newsweek Daily Beast Company, where he was a senior writer. In that role, he wrote numerous cover stories, including â€œThe Suicide Epidemic,â€ â€œiCrazyâ€ and â€œDustoff 73.â€ His story â€œThe Last Dive" and the original video became Newsweek's first video cover.
His is the author of "The Last Pirate," which is due from Doubleday on April 1, 2014.
He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. with his wife and children.