Costa Concordia Victims Swim To Land, Others Feared Dead

Divers are still searching rooms in the Costa Concordia, which is lying on its side 650-feet off Giglio island after it ran aground off Italy’s west coast, and emergency teams are racing to rescue about 40 people still believed to be missing from the cruise ship.

The BBC’s Alan Johnston, who was one of the first reporters on scene, says it “must have been an extraordinarily harrowing experience” as the ship sank on Friday during its first night of a Mediterranean cruise.

Most of its 4,000 passengers and crew swam ashore and others reached land by lifeboats. Three people died. Late on Saturday, two people were found alive on board.

Rescuers have reached a man and a woman stranded in a cabin two decks down on the half-submerged ship, according to Italian media reports.

The precise number of those who remain unaccounted for is unclear. Late on Saturday local official Giuseppe Linardi said up to 41 people were missing.

Earlier he had put the figure at 70, adding that some might still be housed in private homes on Giglio – where the survivors first reached land.

A huge gash can be seen on the side of the ship in the hull of about 75-feet as it lies on its side.

Coast guard captain Cosimo Nicastro told Italian reporters that an search of the waters around the ship recovered no bodies during the night. But he added that there still might be some “in the belly of the ship.”

Italian, German, French and British nationals were among the 3,200 passengers on board. There were also 1,000 crew.

Those who died include two French passengers and a Peruvian crewman.

Some passengers were rescued by lifeboat, helicopters plucked to safety some who were trapped on the ship, and others jumped from the ship into the cold sea.

About 40 people are being treated in hospital.

The Costa Concordia captain was being held for questioning, Italian TV reported.

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