Another “Sully” Moment: Well, Not Quite

Wonder if “Sully” Sullenberger considered parachuting out of the US Airways plane that was heading back for an unscheduled crash landing after taking off from LaGuardia Jan. 15, 2009. Nah. He put the big bird down on the water in what was called “The Miracle on the Hudson.”

And he along with the other crew members made sure all the passengers were safe until leaving the plane.

That’s not quite the situation involving the luxury cruise ship that did a belly flop off the coast of Italy this weekend. And this is a tragedy — with deaths and injuries. So it’s really no laughing matter.

Still, consider this situation in contrast to what Sully and the US Airways crew did.

Here’s from the Daily Mail, “Italy’s most hated man: Facebook anger at skipper of doomed cruise liner who abandoned ship hours before passengers“:

The captain of the doomed Costa Concordia cruise ship is quickly becoming Italy’s ‘most hated man’ – with hundreds turning to Facebook to vent their anger against him.

Francesco Schettino, in charge of the liner that ran aground with 4,000 passengers, has already been blamed by his bosses for the disaster.

Chairman of operator Costa Cruises, Pier Luigi Foschi, said the ship deviated from the correct route when it hit rocks near the coast, tearing a large hole in the hull, and that the captain had contravened company’s safety procedures.

He said today: ‘The company disavows such behaviour, which caused the accident.’

Mr Foschi added: ‘Personally and on behalf of the Costa Crociere (Cruises) I want to say we are very sorry for this tragic accident that’s happened.’

Now, almost 1,000 people have ‘liked’ the Facebook group ‘Francesco Schettino ‘comandante’ Costa Crociere’ to berate him – with many saying he ‘played with people’s lives’.

It comes as, also on Facebook, it emerged that the head of the ship’s restaurant’s sister had posted a comment, before the disaster, saying: ‘In a short period of time the Concordia ship will pass very close. A big greeting to my brother who finally get to have a holiday on landing in Savona.’

Patrizia Tivoli, sister of restaurant boss Antonello, posted the message at 9.08pm on Friday. A few minutes later, the boat ran aground.

Today rescue attempts were suspended ‘indefinitely’ after the ship slipped 9cm from its resting place – prompting fears it will plummet 100 metres down to the bottom of the Mediterranean.

Six people are confirmed dead and 16 are still unaccounted for.

The revelations follow claims that Schettino, from Meta di Sorrento near Naples, had been drinking ‘with a beautiful woman’ at the ship’s bar before he sailed into disaster.

Schettino, 52, was arrested on suspicion of multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship when the cruise liner ran aground after sustaining a 160ft gash in the port-side hull.

Six people are now confirmed dead and 16 are still missing. The sixth person – a male passenger – was found dead wearing a life vest on the second deck of the ship. That area of the boat was not submerged.

And this doesn’t appear to be one of the proud moments in any rescue on sea or on land. Again from the Daily Mail, “Forget women and children first. Burly men led the race for the life boats“:

It was every man – and crew member – for himself.

Survivors from the Costa Concordia spoke angrily yesterday of the nightmare evacuation from the stricken ship as women and children were left behind.

In the terrifying moments after the giant vessel began to list, fights even broke out to get into the lifeboats.

Men refused to prioritise women, expectant mothers and children as they pushed themselves forward to escape. Crew ignored their passengers – leaving ‘chefs and waiters’ to help out.

In heart-rending footage, recorded on mobile phones, British children could be heard shouting ‘Daddy’ and ‘Mummy’ in the melee.

As she waited for a flight home from Rome, grandmother Sandra Rogers, 62, told the Daily Mail: ‘There was no “women and children first” policy. There were big men, crew members, pushing their way past us to get into the lifeboats. It was disgusting.’

OK. Full disclosure. I have absolutely no intention of ever setting foot on a cruise ship. Hey, I saw Titantic just like everyone else.

But in case I do get tricked into a cruise someday, I’m not taking off my life jacket unless I know Sully is at the helm.

 

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