January 7, 2013
The latest incident occurred when five German passengers, reportedly from another Costa ship, hired an inflatable boat to get a close-up look at Concordia, which lies half submerged in the waters off the Italian island of Giglio. The group, which included two children, had to be rescued by the Italian Coast Guard after storm-force winds whipped up large ocean waves, which threatened to sink the small boat.
By the time the Coast Guard reached the group, all were suffering from "the effects of the cold," a Coast Guard spokesman told Sky News. "It was a pretty stupid thing to do. They were lucky that it ended as it did – they could have quite easily sank."
Officials said the Germans had traveled some 82 miles from Civitavecchia to Porto Santo Stefano, where they rented the inflatable boat and sailed 10 miles to the Concordia wreck. The weather changed on the way back, and though they managed to keep the small boat afloat, they had to be picked up by the Coast Guard.
Once the Coast Guard had them, they were given hot drinks and wrapped in thermal blankets. After being checked by paramedics, they were transported back to Civitavecchia where they rejoined their Costa ship.
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor