Cruise Ship Rescue: Two More Bodies Found

January 15th, 20125:08 pm @

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Cruise Ship Rescue: Two More Bodies Found

Two more bodies have been found on the stricken Costa Concordia cruise liner off the coast of Italy, bringing the total number of dead to five.

According to the coastguard, its divers discovered the bodies of two elderly passengers in the submerged part of the vessel.

The identities of the deceased have not yet been revealed.

It came just hours after three people, including a couple on honeymoon, were rescued from the ship, which ran aground near the island of Giglio, off the Tuscan coast, late on Friday.

The pair of South Korean newlyweds, who had been stranded deep inside the half-submerged Costa Concordia, were brought safely to shore late on Saturday night.

The couple, in their late 20s, are said to be in good health.

South Korean couple

The couple were rescued by a team of 35 people

The third person rescued was the ship’s cabin service director, Manrico Giampetroni, who is thought to have a broken leg.

Strapped into a stretcher, he had to be winched to safety by a rescue helicopter.

Meanwhile, the ship’s captain has spoke for the first time since the liner ran aground prompting an emergency evacuation.

Captain Francesco Schettino defended his actions, saying he is sure the problem was not detected by the ship’s navigation system.

Both he and first officer Ciro Ambrosio were detained on Saturday on suspicion of multiple manslaughter, as well as abandoning ship while passengers were still in danger.

A total of 15 people are still unaccounted for, including nine passengers and six crew members. The vessel had been carrying 4,234 people, including British holidaymakers.

Costa Cruises told Sky News the 37 Britons onboard – 25 passengers and 12 crew members, mainly entertainers – were rescued.

Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed all of them have now been accounted for and are safe.

Local prosecutor Francesco Verusio said the Costa Concordia had approached Giglio “the wrong way” and struck a reef on its left-hand side.

The huge gash it made in the hull resulted in the ship taking in an “enormous amount of water in a matter of minutes”.

The Costa Concordia then began to list and a few hours later it was virtually on its side.

There have been claims from passengers that the evacuation was “chaotic” and carried out amid scenes of panic, with some comparing it to the Titanic – whose 100-year anniversary is in three months’ time.

Five helicopters and nearby ships had to pluck people to safety after they became trapped on the vessel when it listed so badly they could not launch lifeboats.

Chief executive of Costa Cruises, Gianni Onorato, said the liner hit a rock and then the captain “decided to bring the ship to safety before ordering its evacuation”.

 

I look at it and think ‘how could you possibly have fatalities in the 21st century on a very routine voyage off the coast of Italy?’ It simply doesn’t make sense.


Travel writer Simon Calder

 

He added: “Unfortunately, the fast tilting of the vessel interrupted the evacuation by the use of lifeboats.

“That’s when events started escalating and that required the Italian coast guard to intervene, this and the rescue operations were handed over to the authorities.”

As the ship began to list heavily to one side, coastguards were immediately dispatched to the scene while terrified passengers were ordered to put on lifejackets and man lifeboats.

Helicopters, coastguard vessels and passing ships were used in the evacuation but many people jumped into the icy seas once the order to abandon had been sounded, and some were injured after spending several minutes in the water.

Costa Concordia ship route

The ship had several scheduled stops planned in southern Europe

 

Pictures showed a massive hole in the hull more than 150ft (45m) long. There was also a huge rock embedded in the side of the liner.

Three of the dead have reportedly been identified as two French passengers and one Peruvian crewman.

One of the victims, a man aged in his 70s, is thought to have died of a heart attack caused by the shock of the icy water when he dived in during the chaos.

Some 14 people were injured in the incident, mostly suffering bruises, authorities said.

:: Concerned family and friends of passengers who were on the ship are urged to call the Foreign Office on 0207 008 1500 or the British Embassy in Rome on (+39) 064 2200 001.

 

Article source: http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Costa-Concordia-Italy-Two-More-Bodies-Found-On-Ship-Hours-After-Honeymoon-Couple-Rescued/Article/201201316149327?f=rss