Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2012 by Martin Cox
Update: According to Italian media reports, two people were discovered alive on board the ship late on Saturday night. Rescuers have managed to speak to a man and a woman but cannot not yet reach them. The survivors are stranded two decks down on the half-submerged ship.
After sunrise on January 14th, the extent of the disaster was clear: The 2006-built COSTA CONCORDIA, one of the largest ships of the Costa Crociere fleet, lay on her starboard side off the west coast of Italy less than 700 feet from the small island of Giglio. Reports have now reduced the number of dead to three* people killed and the numbers of the missing vary. Divers have been searching around the wreck and the black box records were retrieved before sunset. The cause of the accident remains unclear since the experienced crew had made the same voyage many times and the sea was calm.
Amazingly, most of the complement of 4,200 people on-board, 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members were able to escape the sinking vessel.
Today, Costa issued the following statement: “It is a tragedy that deeply affects our company. Our first thoughts go to the victims and we would like to express our condolences and our closeness to their families and friends. In this moment, all our efforts are focused on the completion of the last emergency operations, besides providing assistance to the guests and the crew who were on board in order to have them going back home as soon as possible. The emergency procedures started promptly to evacuate the ship. The slope, gradually taken over by the ship, made the evacuation extremely difficult. We would like to express our profound gratitude to the Coast Guard and all the forces co-ordinated by the Coast Guard, including the authorities and citizens of the island ‘Isola del Giglio’, who have been involved in the rescue and assistance to guests and crew members. The company will fully co-operate with the relevant Authorities in order to determine the causes of what happened.”
Costa Cruises issued the following for friends and family members may use the following country-specific contact numbers to reach them:
*an earlier version of the story reported eight deaths.