Divers searching the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship off a Tuscan island found eight bodies Wednesday on one of the passenger decks,including that of a missing 5-year-old Italian girl,authorities said.
Italy’s national civil protection agency,which is monitoring the operation off a Tuscan island,said three of the bodies were recovered a few hours after being spotted by fire department divers. It said they are those of a woman,a girl and a man.
Because of worsening weather,the divers were not able to immediately remove the other five bodies.
The bodies were being transferred to a hospital on the mainland for identification,a process which could take days. Before Wednesday’s development,15 people were listed as missing,but only one of them was a child,Dayana Arlotti.
The 5-year-old girl was on the Mediterranean cruise with her father and his girlfriend. The girlfriend survived. The father was among the missing.
Including the missing,who are presumed dead and bodies already recovered,the death toll in the accident stands at 32.
Dayana’s father,Williams,had a history of health problems,and was said by family to be travelling to celebrate a new lease on life,he had received a kidney and pancreas transplant in the past.
Some witnesses told media that they last saw him during the evacuation as he headed back to his cabin to retrieve life-saving medication.
The Concordia,which was carrying some 4,200 passengers and crew,struck a reef off the Tuscan island of Giglio on January 13,took on water and started listing badly until it lay on its side. Giglio is a tiny island of fishermen and tourist hotels.
Most of the victims were found on the capsized ship in the first week or two after the accident. Three corpses were recovered from the water a few hours after it grounded.
Officials coordinating the search efforts said divers went into an area where survivors had told rescuers some passengers had been gathering to await evacuation.
Many of the ship’s lifeboats couldn’t be launched after the ship leaned heavily on one side.