Cruise Ship Runs Aground, 3 Bodies Found

Luxury liner shipwrecked off coast of Italy

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 14, 2012 5:24 AM CST

(Newser) – At least three people were killed as a luxury cruise ship carrying about 4,200 ran aground off the coast of Italy last night, report AP and the AFP. The 950-foot-long cruise ship hit a reef near the small island of Giglio near Tuscany around 8pm, opening a 160-feet gash in the hull. The captain tried to sail the ship into shallower waters to make it easier for passengers to escape on lifeboats, but became stuck on a sandbar about 18 miles from the coast. Three bodies have been recovered, though unconfirmed reports say others had died.

As the listing of the ship worsened, many passengers were not able to use the ship's lifeboats and had to be rescued by helicopter or by rescue ships. "It was like a scene from the Titanic," said one passenger. Because Giglio has a population of only 1,500, evacuees filled the small island's schools, hotels, and a church, and the mayor called on "everyone with a roof" to help house survivors.

The luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia leans after it ran aground off the coast of Isola del Giglio island, Italy.   (AP Photo/Giorgio Fanciulli, Giglionews.it)
Passengers of the luxury ship that ran aground off the coast of Tuscany disembark a ferry in Porto Santo Stefano, Italy.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Passengers of the luxury ship that ran aground off the coast of Tuscany disembark a ferry in Porto Santo Stefano, Italy.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Passengers of the luxury ship that ran aground off the coast of Tuscany disembark a ferry in Porto Santo Stefano, Italy.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
The luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia leans after it ran aground off the coast of the Isola del Giglio island, Italy.   (AP Photo/Giglionews.it, Giorgio Fanciulli)
Map locates where cruise ship ran aground.   (Associated Press)
The luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia leans after it ran aground off the coast of the Isola del Giglio island, Italy.   (AP Photo/Giglionews.it, Giorgio Fanciulli)
A boat approaches the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia that ran aground the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
A luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia leans on its side after running aground the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
A luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia leans on its side after running aground the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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