Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Capsized Cruise Ship: Heroes and Zeros

The capsized ship off the Italian coast seems to contain stories of heroism and and also infamy.

The infamy of the captain driving the ship onto the rocks and then being one of the first to abandon ship--whatever happened to the captain going down with the ship in an effort to ensure the safety and rescue of the passengers.
Why would the captain of the Costa Concordia abandon ship without ensuring the safety of his passengers and crew?

Remember, by contrast, the heroism of Captain Sully Sullenberger the command pilot of the US Airways flight which crashed into the Hudson River two years ago, almost to the day, on January 15, 2009? He walked through the plane as it was settling into the river to ensure all of the passengers and crew had been evacuated.

Yet, from the sinking of the Costa Concordia comes the story of the purser who single-handedly helped hundreds to the safety of life boats until he slipped and broke his leg. Sadly, in the panic no one helped him and he remained on the ship for 36 hours until rescued.

In thinking about this tragedy, I realized there was a lot of panic--but I hope, had I been in a similar situation that I would be able to care for an injured person and not left him there to fend for himself. I wonder how many people ignored him as they rushed for safety.

Heroes and zeros--every tragedy seems to have them. I wonder which I will be when my time comes?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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