ROME — The husband of one of the victims of the Costa Concordia cruise ship wreck off Italy dived Saturday to lay a plaque at the spot where the vessel hit rocks with the loss of 32 lives.
Elio Vincenzi, whose wife Maria Grazie Trecarichi is still missing, dived 25 metres (80 feet) down to leave the plaque in the rocks on Giglio Island, close to where the ship still lies on its side six months after the tragedy.
"It was very emotional," Vincenzi said afterwards. "There, under the sea, I was with her, I will never forget her."
The plaque carries two photographs, the name of his wife and the dates of her birth and death.
Vincenzi made his dive, accompanied by Giglio's deputy mayor Mario Pellegrini, the day after a special memorial mass was held in the hilltop church on the island along Italy's northwest coast.
"It was human stupidity that took her away, not the sea that we both loved," Vincenzi told reporters earlier.
He said his dive would be "an embrace for my wife and one I will do every year as long as my health allows."
Pier Luigi Foschi, the chief executive of ship owner Costa Crociere, Europe's biggest cruise operator, was also at the commemoration and he later embraced Vincenzi.
Costa Crociere is planning to refloat the Costa Concordia and tow it to a port in Italy for scrapping.
Workers are currently anchoring the ship to the underwater reef that it has come to rest on to ensure that it cannot slip further into the open sea.
Nine people are under investigation including captain Francesco Schettino, who is also accused of abandoning ship before the evacuation was complete, and five other crew, as well as three executives from Costa Crociere.
In his first interview since the tragedy, on Tuesday, Schettino asked for forgiveness and admitted he was "distracted" at the time of the crash but said other crew members should have spotted the rock and changed course.
Reports that Schettino was paid for the interview with private channel Canale 5 have angered many survivors and island residents, while Giglio mayor Sergio Ortelli said the captain's interview was "an embarrassment."
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