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Cruise Ship Disaster: Passengers Offered Compensation For Lost Baggage

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Jan. 27 2012, Published 12:00 p.m. ET

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By Debbie Emery - Reporter

After insulting survivors of the cruise ship disaster by offering them 30 percent off future trips, Costa Cruises has now agreed to pay each passenger $14,460 as compensation for psychological trauma and lost baggage.

Still many passengers who had to desperately jump to safety onto lifeboats after the $450 million cruise liner crashed into a reef off the coast of Tuscany on January 13 think that it is not enough because they can't yet put a figure on the cost of the trauma they endured.

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The offer was negotiated by a consumer group working with 3,206 passengers from 61 countries, none of whom were injured in the accident, reported the Huffington Post.

As previously reported, one American couple who was on the Costa Concordia for part of their honeymoon are already considering legal action.

"It was every man for himself," revealed Emily Lau, who was with her new husband Benji Smith. "The main thing is no one knew how to help because they were never trained. That is the cruise ship's fault."

Other passengers have revealed the emotional torment they are still suffering. "We're very worried about the children," said Claudia Urru of Cagliari, Sardinia, who revealed that her 12-year-old son is seeing a psychiatrist for trauma.

"He's terrorized at night," she told the Associated Press. "He can't go to the bathroom alone. We're all sleeping together, except my husband, who has gone into another room because we don't all fit."

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In addition to the 11,000 euros, Costa also said it would reimburse uninjured passengers the full cost of their cruise, their return travel expenses and any medical expenses they sustained after the grounding.

The hundreds of crew members are not included in the deal, despite many of them being injured in the crash and now facing unemployment. It has been reported that some cash-strapped staff members even accepted money from rich Russians after the collision in return for coveted spots on life boats.

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Also not included are the 100 people who were injured in the crash, or families of the dead and missing. Out of the 4,200 people who boarded the boat, 16 are confirmed deceased and 16 are still unaccounted for, including American couple Barbara and Jerry Heil, from Minnesota.

Numerous lawyers around the world are working with passengers to discuss their legal options, and a U.S. lawfirm is pursuing a class action lawsuit based in Miami.

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Captain Francesco Schettino remains under house arrest under investigation for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the ship before all those aboard were evacuated. He was reportedly away from the bridge dining with a 25-year-old woman when the ship hit the reef four miles off course.


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