4 bodies located in Costa Concordia wreck
The ship was carrying 4,229 passengers and crew when it struck rocks off Giglio island and keeled over on the night of January 13.
Wed, Feb 22 2012 at 8:08 AM
WRECK: Salvage workers began pumping 2,400 tons of fuel oil from the ship's tanks on February 12, in an operation expected to take a month if weather conditions remained stable. (Photo: AFP)
Up to four bodies have been located in the wreckage of the semi-submerged cruise liner Costa Concordia, the office of the official tasked with the clean up of the January 13 disaster said Wednesday.
"Bodies of victims have been located. It seems there are four. The operation to recover them is under way," spokeswoman Francesca Maffini told AFP by phone from Giglio island, where the ship ran aground with the loss of 32 lives.
"The bodies are in a state of decomposition after all this time in the water. It is difficult to say exactly how many have been found," a recovery source said.
Italy's civil protection agency, whose chief Franco Gabrielli has been tasked by the government with managing the environmentally hazardous removal of the wreck, said in a statement that the bodies had been found on Deck 4.
Divers were acting on survivors' indications of where the bodies of those still missing were likely to be found.
The Costa Concordia was carrying 4,229 passengers and crew when it struck rocks off Giglio island, in the Tuscany maritime reserve, and keeled over on to its side on the night of January 13.
Seventeen bodies were recovered in the days following the disaster, and a further 15 people are missing — six Germans, four Italians including a five-year-old girl, a French couple, two Americans and an Indian crew member.
Italian prosecutors have placed the ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, and first officer, Ciro Ambrosio, under investigation for the disaster.
Salvage workers began pumping 2,400 tons of fuel oil from the ship's tanks on February 12, in an operation expected to take a month if weather conditions remained stable.
Dozens of survivors have launched lawsuits against cruise line Costa Crociere and its US parent company Carnival Corp in France, Germany and the United States.
Thirty-nine survivors on Tuesday amended a lawsuit in Carnival's home state of Florida, seeking more than half a billion dollars in damages.
Costa Crociere has offered uninjured passengers 11,000 euros each plus expenses as compensation.
Copyright 2012 AFP Global Edition