3 Dead After Ship Runs Aground in Italy

Posted January 14th, 2012 at 4:45 am (UTC-5)
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Italian officials say at least three people were killed and several injured when a luxury cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Tuscany on Friday. That is fewer dead than first reported.

Authorities say more than 4,000 passengers and crew members were aboard the Costa Concordia when it ran into trouble near the Tuscan island of Giglio. Passengers were sitting down to dinner at the time of the incident.

One passenger told Italian media the ensuing panic onboard the ship was “like a scene from the Titanic.” Some of those onboard are reported to have jumped into the icy waters to escape the badly listing ship that began taking on water through a gash in the hull.

Officials say a rescue operation using lifeboats and helicopters has evacuated passengers and crew to the island of Giglio and to Porto Santo Stefano on the mainland.

The accommodations on the 290-meter long, 13-deck Costa Concordia included 13 bars, 5 restaurants, 4 swimming pools and 500 balcony staterooms.

The cause of the accident is being investigated.