A passenger who dropped off next to his wife on the cruise ship sunbed was horrified to wake up and see she was missing. A couple of months on, pensioner's dead body was found in a ship ventilation shaft.
German Ernst Bechstein has slammed the crew for allegedly not carrying out a proper search of the ship, claiming his wife Imelda could still be alive had they done so.
The 74-year-old Mr Bechstein admitted his wife, who is the same age, could sometimes become disorientated and must have wandered into the engine room and toppled into the ventilation shaft.
He first reported her missing when he woke up from the sun lounger to discover her missing, but her body has only been found 2 months later.
The couple were on their way back from Sardinia, Italy, to their home in Munich, in Bavaria in Germany, after they had spent a week on the sunny Italian island to escape the gloomy German autumn weather.
"We rested in sleeping-chairs. When I woke up later, my wife had disappeared."
The pensioner looked all over the "Sharden" ferry, which can carry up to 2,908 passengers and 850 cars, but could not locate his wife.
The captain, who was not named in local media, had then given the order to search the entire ship but they could not locate Imelda.
For weeks, people wondered if Imelda might have fallen overboard or if she might have been the victim of a crime.
But now it has been reported that her body has been found on board the vessel in the crew’s maintenance shaft. Mr Bechstein said:
"She should not have been able to enter the engine room area, it should have been curtained off."
He claimed that if the crew had carried out a more thorough search "she might still have been alive" today.
The exact extent of the crew's search is unknown.
The Italian ferry on which the accident occurred
Recent autopsy results showed that Imelda had died the night after she vanished and no other signs of violence were found on the body other than injuries from falling down the shaft.
The body of the woman is still held in Genoa as the public prosecutor has not given a green light yet to release it.
Mr Bechstein said he just wants to see the body of his wife return home as soon as possible. He said:
"I want to be able to at least bury my wife. She should finally find her last resting place."
For reports on other cruise ship accidents see at CruiseMinus.com