From Titanic to Concordia
With the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking upon us this spring, the comparisons with last month’s Costa Concordia disaster is one that TV producers have found too tempting to avoid. The former event, of course, claimed more than 1,500 lives in the icy waters of the mid-Atlantic. In the latter, 17 are confirmed dead, some 60 injured and 15 still unaccounted for after a Friday-the-13th grounding off of an Italian island in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The captain of the Titanic went down with the ship. The captain of the Concordia fell into a lifeboat. Aside from the inevitable panic ensuing as terrified passengers scrambled into lifeboats, do significant similarities exist between the two maritime disasters? A century’s worth of books, documentaries and movies have dissected the Titanic’s fortunes, but the Concordia’s tale is still to unfold. And, two cable channels hope to conjure up Titanic-style ratings in telling the Concordia’s story.
National Geographic Channel will air “Italian Cruise Ship Disaster: The Untold Stories” on Sunday, Feb. 12. The program promises passenger interviews, crew member stories, CGI recreating the ship’s rocky collision and submersion off the island of Giglio; as well as previously-unaired video of the Concordia’s demise. And, Nat Geo isn’t the only cable channel scheduled to air a Concordia documentary.
The Discovery Channel announced plans to air a special this spring focusing on the Concordia salvage process. That task poses challenges unlike anything else in history, the Concordia being substantially larger and bulkier than the Titanic.
The cable channel offerings come on the heels of a sensationalistic “20/20” episode airing on ABC a week after the Concordia disaster.
A more well-balanced program, “The Wreck of the Costa Concordia,” aired recently on the Canada’s CBC News “Fifth Estate.” The program featured testimonials from individuals such as the ship’s doctor, who treated injured passengers on board while the ship listed precariously. Another subject: a local politician from Giglio, who went on board to help rescue passengers. Both unsung heroes for now, but if the Titanic is any indication, a century of notoriety awaits them both.