Less than two hours after leaving the port of Savona, near Rome, the 1,500 stateroom Concordia hit a reef near the small island of Giglio.
As the well-lit ship began a 20-degree list, it was reported that several passengers jumped into the sea to swim the 400 meters to the nearby shore. Pregnant women and children were the first to be safely evacuated.
Around 8PM, when most passengers were in the dining room, there was a loud boom. Passengers were told that the ship had come to an abrupt halt due to an electrical failure. Everyone then left the dining room and proceded to their muster stations and donned life jackets.
The Costa Concordia had left the port of Savona at 7pm local time and was sailing to Civitavecchia, its first port of call, when disaster struck at around 9pm.
Said one woman, “It was just like something out of the Titanic.” “You could tell straight away that the ship had hit something and no way was it an electrical fault.” The Italian Coast Guard was at the scene.
Sergio Ortelli, the major of the tiny island of Giglio (population 700) said that they were rushing to find shelter for the passengers. Many were at schools, hotels and hospitals.
According to the latest report from Agence France-Presse, three people have died instead of the six-eight as previously reported by the Italian media. There may be more casualties as rescue operations continue on Saturday.
Last night, Costa Cruises (Costa Crociera), the company that owns the ship, released a statement that confirmed the evacuation of the 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew, “but the position of the ship which is worsening is making more difficult the last part of the evacuation.”
As of sunrise, the fifty people that were on the deck of the ship overnight had be evacuated by helicopter. Rescuers have started to search the submerged passenger and crew cabins.
Source: AFP, RioNovasti, News Sky
Photo Credit: AFP
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