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Cruise ship survivors press for new drug tests on captain

Lawyers for survivors of the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship on Saturday pressed for new drug tests on the ship's captain after traces of cocaine were reportedly found on the outside of a hair sample.

But the consultant who did the analyses for prosecutors stood by results, which found no presence of the drug in urine samples or within the hair of Captain Francesco Schettino.

Italian consumer protection group Codacons is representing some survivors of the shipwreck of the cruise liner, which rammed a reef near a Tuscan island the night of Jan. 13. Under Italian law, those attaching civil lawsuits to a criminal case must be informed of, and allowed to monitor, evidence and other developments in the probe.

Codacons said Saturday that some traces of cocaine were found on a hair sample and in an envelope containing the sample, but noted that a urine sample taken from Schettino and an analysis of the hair itself found no presence of the drug. It called that finding "very strange" and said it had asked prosecutors on Friday to order new testing to see if the samples might have been contaminated.

The Concordia was carrying some 4,200 passengers and crew on a week's cruise on its standard route when it crashed into the reef during dinner a couple of hours after leaving an Italian port. The boat started badly listing to one side almost immediately, causing passengers to panic and try to scramble aboard lifeboats. But the evacuation wasn't ordered until about an hour later, and some passengers jumped overboard to swim to Giglio when several of the lifeboats couldn't be deployed because of the ship's tilt.

Schettino is under house arrest in his home near Naples while he is investigated for alleged manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship.

In White Bear Lake, Minn., the only Americans lost in last month's Italian cruise ship disaster were remembered Saturday as a faithful couple and loving grandparents who spent their final moments as they had much of their lives: together.

A memorial Mass for Jerry and Barb Heil drew hundreds of people to the couple's longtime Minnesota church. Their bodies have not been found.

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