Nick Squires –
The child’s father told rescuers that the little boy had been unable to sleep since the disaster and desperately missed his toy.
He wrote to islanders who had given shelter to him and his son after they were brought ashore when the 950ft long vessel ran aground on the Italian island of Giglio on the night of Jan 13.
Islanders passed the letter to the island’s mayor, Sergio Ortelli, who in turn gave it to rescue divers, who entered the hull on a special mission, finding the cabin where the boy had been staying and retrieving the soft toy – bedraggled but intact.
Bad weather has repeatedly forced divers to suspend their operations in the hull of the crippled ship but they took advantage of a break in the weather earlier this week to go back in – a welcome break from the grim task of looking for bodies.
They found the bear hidden in a tangle of debris – overturned tables, chairs, mattresses and scattered luggage.