Cruise ship grounds off Italy’s coast, half submerged

Costa Concordia lay on her side, starboard side down off Italy. (photo: Isola del Giglio webcam)

Updated: 0410 ET

What started out as a ship hitting a rock in shallow water ended in a 114,500-ton ship taking on water, listing (leaning) causing passenger evacuation, and a reported eleven-passengers dead.

The 3,700-passenger Costa Concordia was departing Civitavecchia (Rome) for a Mediterranean cruise when it struck bottom.

After going off course and striking a rock, the captain took the ship to shallow waters closer to land to save the ship, passengers, and crew. The black box on the navigational bridge will give specifics.

“At around 8:00 pm (1900 GMT) the 290-metre-long Costa Concordia cruise ship… began taking on water and tilting over by around 20 degrees,” the Coast Guard said in a statement to the AFB.

A passenger aboard Costa Concordia recounts the incident to Sky News,We were having dinner when all of a sudden the lights went out. It seemed as if the ship struck something and then we heard a loud bang and everything fell to the floor. The captain immediately came on the tanoy and said that there had been an electrical fault but it seemed very strange as the ship almost immediately began to list to one side. The glasses just slid off the table. We were then told to put on our life vests and head to the life boats just to be safe. Then a few minutes later there were seven whistles which meant everyone had to get in the lifeboats.”

You can hear our interview with one of the passengers from Costa Concordia on our latest episode of Cruise Radio.

As the night progressed the ship started taking on water and listing more, making evacuation difficult. The passengers were taken to the island of Giglio to be put up for the night before being flown home.

Of the eleven passengers reported dead, one was a 70-year old man who jumped into the water and died of shock. It’s also being reported that over 30-people were injured and are currently being treated. The cause of the other deaths have not been confirmed, though drowning my be the cause for a number of them. Numerous passengers are still being reported missing.

Divers are looking for the missing right now and pulling bodies from the wreckage. Earlier today having to blast holes in the  hull of the ship to clear a passage for the search and rescue mission. A couple on their honeymoon was found alive on the inside of the ship and was taken to the local hospital, as well as a crew member.

The captain, Francesco Schettino, was detained late Saturday and is being investigated for manslaughter and abandoning ship. Costa Cruises released a statement on Sunday admitting fault of the captain. The captain was in court on Monday and a judge granted him house arrest. Transcripts were released between the local Port Authority and Captain Schettino.

On Friday morning, sensors on the 114,500-ton Costa Concordia gave the local authorities more  information that the ship is starting to slip, suspending the search and rescue mission. The divers can not enter the ship with fears of it shifting more and trapping divers.

Costa Concordia at 4:00pm still sitting half submerged. (photo: webcam)

Right now Costa Concordia lays on the bottom of the sea floor, half submerged, starboard side down (pictured above). Details are being released that a Dutch company will assist in a salvage mission after the search and rescue mission.

We will update when we have more confirmed information. Our thoughts and prayers are with this families of this event.

Costa Cruises is owned by Miami-based Carnival Corporation.

For information, friends and families member can contact the U.S. call center at 800-462-6782.

Original article posted here.

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