Rescue workers scouring a partly sunken Italian cruise ship off the Tuscan coast found glimmers of hope and tragedy on Sunday,pulling three survivors from the luxury liner,including a couple on their honeymoon,as well as two more bodies,bringing the total of confirmed deaths to five.
The number of passengers still missing from the accident Saturday,when the massive Costa Concordia struck a rock-like object and capsized,fell to between 34 and 17,as passengers previously listed as missing were accounted for.
Divers searching submerged cabins found the bodies of two elderly men,trapped at an assembly point,on Sunday,the Italian Coast Guard said.
Throughout the day,Italian fire brigades circled the ship,resting on its side with a gash just below the waterline and a rock stuck in the hull,in small craft,tapping the hull and listening for responses from people trapped inside.
A couple,honeymooners from Korea,was found alive inside a cabin of the ship,said Luca Cari,a brigade spokesman,and taken to a local hospital.
Later,onlookers witnessed a dramatic helicopter rescue take place above the half-submerged ship off the coast of this resort island; an Italian man,identified by media reports as a crew member,was airlifted from the ship,thought to have broken his leg.
The ship,carrying 4,200 passengers and crew on a weeklong Mediterranean cruise,slammed into an object,described as either a rock or coral,near the island of Giglio as passengers for the late seating had just started dinner,tucking into appetizers. Anxious survivors compared the experience to the movie Titanic.
Prosecutor Francesco Verusio confirmed reports that prosecutors are investigating allegations the cruise liners captain,Francesco Schettino,abandoned the stricken liner before all the passengers escaped. For his part,the captain has insisted that the reef was not marked.