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|01-14-2012, 06:25 AM||#1|
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At least 3 dead after Costa Concordia ran aground off Italy
At least three people were killed when the Costa Concordia ran aground on a sand bank near the Italian island of Giglio, Friday night.
The grounding occurred during dinnertime, according to witnesses. The ship was carrying about 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members at the time, according to the cruise line's blog.
Initial reports suggested as many as six people had been killed, but it was unclear why the number dropped. An additional 14 people have been report to be injured.
The civil protection agency in the town of Grosseto, the provincial capital, said the emergency operation was still ongoing and as parts of the ship are underwater, the death and injured toll could rise.
The coast guard is using three helicopters to rescue remaining passengers from the ship, which pictures show leaning heavily to one side.
According to Costa, evacuation efforts started promptly but were made "extremely difficult" by the position of the ship. Some passengers fell into the chilly waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea during the rescue.
Passengers said the lights went out and it was clear the ship hit something.
Passengers and crew rushed to the lifeboats as the ship quickly leaned to one side, and found access to some hampered by the ship's tilt into the water, which added to the confusion of the moment.
Many rescued in the early hours were taken to small churches and other buildings around the island for shelter.
This is an ongoing story as the rescue continues as I write this. There are still passengers and crew unaccounted for. Hopefully they will be found safe.
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