Third Survivor Rescued on Overturned Italian Ship

Posted January 15th, 2012 at 6:30 am (UTC-5)
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Rescue workers on the stricken Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia have rescued a third survivor. The workers found the survivor Sunday as they searched through the ship.

Late Saturday, a South Korean couple on their honeymoon were rescued from their cabin.

At least three people were killed when the ship ran aground Friday evening in the Tiranian Sea off the northern Italian coast and flipped on its side with a breach in its hull.

News reports say two Frenchmen died in the incident, as well as one Peruvian crew member. More than 30 other people were injured. Officials say at least 40 people are missing, and that some crew members may still be trapped inside the ship.

Italian Captain Francesco Schettino was taken into custody Saturday after several hours of questioning. Italian news agency ANSA says he could be facing several charges, including homicide and abandonment of the ship.

Rescuers using lifeboats and helicopters evacuated most of the more than 4,000 passengers and crew members to the island of Giglio and to Porto Santo Stefano on the mainland early Saturday.

Passengers who made it safely to land recounted the chaotic and terrifying evacuation. One of them was an American tourist who said some people had to swim to the shore.

“We were all standing there, and as the boat started going a little quicker, turning, I saw one of the cranes… It popped the life raft, and it exploded and it went boom! And it just crashed. There were two people on it, they got off I think.. we saw like five people jump in the water and start swimming, and I looked and the other crane next to me, which was three feet above water, one meter above water, was like two meters below water.”

Passengers were sitting down to dinner at the time of the incident and were told the ship was having electrical problems.

An investigation is under way to determine why the ship ran aground. When it hit the rocks, officials say, passengers were instructed to put on life jackets and to take to life rafts. However, those on board said the hull tilted so sharply and quickly that many lifeboats could not be lowered into the water.

The Costa Concordia is 290 meters long, with 13 decks. It had 13 bars, five restaurants, four swimming pools and 500 balconied staterooms.