A first mechanic of the Costa Concordia, who saved over 500 people from the listing and sinking cruise ship, was awarded the European Union's highest prize of achievement this week. The award to Peter Petrov, a Bulgarian, was announced in Brussels.
Petrov is recognized as having risked his own life by commanding a small lifeboat and making six trips from the dangerously stricken ship to the shore, 300 plus meters away, and taking over 500 people to safety. His bravery is being honored by the EU.
"I am proud of what he did – he really deserves to be among Europe’s citizens of the year, having rescued hundreds of fellow Europeans," Kristalina Georgieva, of the European Commission, writes on her government website. "It is encouraging to know that there are ordinary men and women are walking among us, who are capable of extraordinary acts of solidarity."
Petrov is Costa Concordia hero
The Costa Concordia, with over 4200 passengers and crew, hit a reef off the coast of the Italian island of Giglio on Jan. 13 and listed over and partially sank when a 70 metre hole was created in a section of the hull underwater. Thirty-two people died, with 30 bodies having been recovered to date. The American firm, Titan Salvage, and Italian company, Micoperi, are in the process of refloating the ship and taking it to an as yet unnamed port for scrapping.
Thirty-seven people were awarded the European Citizen's Award for 2012 after 61 citizens from 19 of the EU's member states were nominated. A jury, lead by Parliament president Martin Schulz, made the decisions. Petrov was one of the last three crew members who continued working to rescue others until the local Coastguard took control of the operation.