Rome: 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 said 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 tonnes 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 yesterday 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.