The Real Captain of Costa Concordia
The ruthless moments of life seem to be far away until something cruel happens to us or to someone close to us. Something what we wouldn’t even imagine in a nightmare.
Before he set off the boat trip what thought would be the last one, I had made an interview with my cousin Sándor Fehér. He had talked about his plans to teach violin at a music school abroad, he wanted to promote our country and the Hungarian tradition of music education. With this boat trip he wanted to wrap up a decade of work as violinist at the stage of the ship. He thought it was the time to say goodbye to the „sailor’s life” and dedicate himself to the education of youth. But life changed his plans and we had to say farewell to him.
Costa Concordia was shipwrecked on Friday, the 13th of January in Italy, close to the island of Giglio. It would be pointless to tell the story of how the captain handled the situation, how cowardly left the ship together with the officers. “By chance” they slipped into a life-boat and “by chance” they called a cab and asked the driver to take them away from the water as far as possible. I was put in touch with many witnesses with the help of the office which arranged my cousin’s trip as well. The witnesses confirmed how Sanyi (nickname for Sándor) was helping the desperately crying children put on their life-jackets, and was trying to console them. Many parents panicked so Sanyi, an experienced passenger, assisted those – mostly children – who were in need. He loved children and he got along with them very well. He maintained good relations with his students, too. I have talked to them recently, and they just couldn’t stop weeping, they were so shocked over losing their teacher.
Many foreign witnesses are speaking up, and describe Sándor as a calm man. They don’t understand why earlier news reports said that he had gone back to save his violin. This was something what his Hungarian colleagues assumed. Those foreigners who stayed with him confirm that during the catastrophe he was occupied with assisting and consoling the children. In fact, some people even saw him when he went to search for small size life-jackets. His head might have been fatally wounded while he was away from the crowd. No one saw him afterwards.
In a disaster like this, each step should have been coordinated by the captain. This was not. The captain’s duties were fulfilled by Sándor Fehér. Judging by the facts he became the real captain of the ocean liner! It was not by chance that many Italian and other foreign dailies refer to him as a hero.
Sanyi dedicated his life to his profession. He was proud for the years at the music academy when he could learn from his role models. He was proud of his parents who supported his every step. This helped him become a great teacher and a virtuoso violinist. His self-sacrificing attitude focused attention on Hungary, violin teaching and on the hero who can be a role model
Rest in peace, my dear brother.