Rescue workers were forced to suspend their operations on the giant 17-deck Costa Concordia after experts warned that the ship was slowly slipping off a rocky underwater shelf into the open Mediterranean with 2,380 tons of fuel on board. The rescue operations however, resumed later.
Choppy seas heightened fears that the ship lying half-submerged on its side off the Tuscan island of Giglio could sink completely in deep water. Emergency crews who have been working around the clock on the wreck since last Friday even sent down a small remote-controlled robot to determined whether the submerged side of the ship could be attached to its resting place.
The 114,500-ton liner crashed into rocks off the island of Giglio on the night of January 13 with 4,229 people from 60 countries on board and began to keel over just as passengers were settling down for supper at the start of their cruise. Stories of ordinary bravery meanwhile continued to emerge from the disaster.
A crew member who worked as an animator on board said he quickly put on his super hero costumes to reassure children as the vessel began to list and the ship's chaplain said captain Francesco Schettino -- since reviled as an incompetent coward -- had cried in his arms once on shore.
Thirty-year-old Giovanni Lazzarini said he dressed up as Spiderman, Mister Incredible and even Wonder Woman to entertain eight children in a theatre. "I put on the costumes to try to ease the fears of the children" after the ship crashed, he said, quoted by the Corriere della Sera newspaper.