Three people are confirmed dead after the cruise ship Costa Concordia grounded off Italy Friday evening. Up to 70 were reported missing as of Saturday morning, though a cabin search of the ship was continuing.
The ANSA news agency quotes the prefect's office in the province of Grosseto as saying that authorities have accounted for 4,165 of the 4,234 passengers and crew who had boarded the liner.
The BBC reports that the ship hit a sandbar near the island of Giglio, carrying more than 4,000 people ran aground off Italy.
The ship had departed from Civitavecchia about two and a half hours before the accident: the passengers were at dinner when the incident occurred, reports Italian broadcaster RAI.
RAI says the ship is resting on its side on the bottom, has a gash on the left side along at least 70 meters and is now listing by more than 80 degrees.inclination of over 80 degrees in the opposite direction.
"There can be no doubt: the ship took a rock. The investigation will determine why," RAI quotes a source as saying.
Evacuation of the ship was made more difficult by the gradually increasing list of the ship, reducing the number of available lifeboats and liferafts. Many were taken off by helicopter and some were rescued from the sea after jumping off the ship.
January 14, 2012