Ship aground off Italy; 3 bodies found - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Ship aground off Italy; 3 bodies found

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PORTO SANTO STEFANO, Italy (AP) -- The number of people missing after a luxury cruise liner ran aground off the coast of Italy last night has dropped to about 40.

   Authorities and port officials have been carefully matching names on the cruise ship's list of passengers and crew with those of survivors getting off ferries or other boats on the mainland.

   Divers have been searching the submerged portion of the ship for signs that survivors or victims may be trapped inside, but none have been found so far. The diving operations have been suspended for the night, but helicopters and sea searches are continuing.

   Three bodies have been recovered from the sea. One was a Peruvian crew member, while the other two have been identified as French tourists.

   Passengers have been describing a chaotic and terrifying evacuation, crawling along hallways to try to reach safety as lights flickered out and objects crashed around them. Some complain that the crew failed to give evacuation instructions once the emergency became clear and delayed lowering the lifeboats until the ship listed too far for many of them to be released.

The bodies were recovered from the sea after the Costa Concordia ran aground off the tiny island of Giglio near the coast of Tuscany late Friday, tearing a 160-foot (50-meter) gash in its hull and sending in a rush of water.

   Survivors who escaped the ship said they crawled along upended hallways trying to reach safety as plates and glasses crashed. Authorities say there are still 70 people of the 4,234 on board who are still unaccounted for amid the confusion.

   (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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