Divers Find 2 More Victims of Italian Cruise Ship Disaster; Fuel Removal to Begin

Posted January 23rd, 2012 at 11:00 am (UTC-5)
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Italian officials say two more bodies have been found on the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia, bringing the number of confirmed dead from the capsized vessel to 15.

Italy's civil protection agency chief, Franco Gabrielli, said Monday divers located the bodies of two women near the ship's Internet cafe. They, along with most of the other victims of the January 13 disaster, have not been identified.

The bodies of two other women were retrieved on Saturday and Sunday from the grounded ship, which tipped over off the small Italian island of Giglio and is lying half-submerged on its side.

Seventeen people — most of them passengers — are still listed as missing. There is also concern that some unregistered passengers may have been on board.

Gabrielli, meanwhile, says the removal of nearly 2,500 metric tons of fuel from the ship can proceed. He says the stricken ship is stable, and there is no danger of it sinking further.

Officials have been concerned that the fuel inside the huge ship could start spilling into the sea, raising the possibility of an environmental disaster.

On Saturday, Italian authorities declared a state of emergency on Giglio.

The captain of the cruise ship, Francesco Schettino, remains under house arrest, accused of manslaughter and abandoning the vessel.