Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Costa Concordia cruise tragedy: Search for girl aged five as death toll rises

Controlled explosions were used to gain entry to inaccessible parts of the ship

In this underwater photo released by the Italian Coast Guard Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 the cruise ship Costa Concordia leans on its side, after it ran aground off the tiny Tuscan island of Isola del Giglio, Italy. The Costa Concordia ran aground on Friday after colliding with a rock. (AP Photo/Italian Coast Guard, ho)
In this underwater photo released by the Italian Coast Guard Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 the cruise ship Costa Concordia leans on its side, after it ran aground off the tiny Tuscan island of Isola del Giglio, Italy. The Costa Concordia ran aground on Friday after colliding with a rock. (AP Photo/Italian Coast Guard, ho)
A rescue diver swims next to the Costa Concordia cruise liner, two days after it ran aground off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Monday, Jan. 16, 2012. The captain of a cruise liner that ran aground and capsized off the Tuscan coast faced accusations from authorities and passengers that he abandoned ship before everyone was safely evacuated as rescuers found another body on the overturned vessel. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
The cruise ship Costa Concordia leans on its side Monday, Jan.16, 2012, after running aground near the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, last Friday. The rescue operation was called off mid-afternoon Monday after the Costa Concordia shifted a few inches (centimeters) in rough seas. The fear is that if the ship shifts significantly, some 500,000 gallons of fuel may begin to leak. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
In this underwater photo released by the Italian Coast Guard Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 a scuba diver swims inside the cruise ship Costa Concordia, Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 after it run aground off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy. Italian rescue officials say a passenger's body has been found in the wreckage of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, raising to six the number of confirmed dead in the disaster. Sixteen people remain unaccounted-for. (AP Photo/Italian Coast Guard, ho)
In this underwater photo taken on Jan. 13 and released by the Italian Coast Guard Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 a scuba diver swims next to the cruise ship Costa Concordia, after it ran aground near the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy. Italian rescue officials say a passenger's body has been found in the wreckage of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, raising to six the number of confirmed dead in the disaster. Sixteen people remain unaccounted-for. (AP Photo/Italian Coast Guard, ho)
A firefighters helicopter flies over the Costa Concordia cruise liner, two days after it ran aground off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Monday, Jan. 16, 2012. The captain of a cruise liner that ran aground and capsized off the Tuscan coast faced accusations from authorities and passengers that he abandoned ship before everyone was safely evacuated as rescuers found another body on the overturned vessel. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
A rescue helicopter hovers over the Costa Concordia cruise liner, two days after it ran aground off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Monday, Jan. 16, 2012. The captain of a cruise liner that ran aground and capsized off the Tuscan coast faced accusations from authorities and passengers that he abandoned ship before everyone was safely evacuated as rescuers found another body on the overturned vessel. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 16: A member of the Guardia di Finanza of Livorno assists in the rescue operation on the cruise ship Costa Concordia as it lies stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio, on January 16, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit rocks last Friday. The official death toll is now six, with a further 16 people still missing. The rescue operation was temporarily suspended earlier due to the ship moving as it slowly sinks further into the sea. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 16: A dog from the Nucleo Cinofilo Regionale Toscano dei Vigili del Fuoco (Dog Tuscan Regional nucleus of firefighters) assists in the rescue operation on the cruise ship Costa Concordia as it lies stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio, on January 16, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit rocks last Friday. The official death toll is now six, with a further 16 people still missing. The rescue operation was temporarily suspended earlier due to the ship moving as it slowly sinks further into the sea. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
Francesco Schettino has been accused of making 'an unapproved, unauthorised' deviation to his route (AP)
An oil removal ship nears the Costa Concordia amid fears that if the ship shifts significantly gallons of fuel may begin to leak (AP)
GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 14: Crowds gather on the island of Giglio, where passengers aboard the cruise ship Costa Concordia have been staying after the vessel ran aground, on January 14, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a sandbank. At least 3 people have been confirmed dead and another 50 are unaccounted for. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
The luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia leans on its starboard side as seen from the Giglio harbour (AP)
GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 14: A general view of the scene on the island of Giglio, near to where the cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground, on January 14, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a sandbank. At least 3 people have been confirmed dead and another 50 are unaccounted for. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 14: The cruise ship Costa Concordia lies stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio, on January 14, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a sandbank. At least 3 people have been confirmed dead and another 50 are unaccounted for. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 14: Crowds gather on the island of Giglio, where passengers aboard the cruise ship Costa Concordia have been staying after the vessel ran aground, on January 14, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a sandbank. At least 3 people have been confirmed dead and another 50 are unaccounted for. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 14: Crowds gather on the island of Giglio, where passengers aboard the cruise ship Costa Concordia have been staying after the vessel ran aground, on January 14, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a sandbank. At least 3 people have been confirmed dead and another 50 are unaccounted for. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 14: The cruise ship Costa Concordia lies stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio, on January 14, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a sandbank. At least 3 people have been confirmed dead and another 50 are unaccounted for. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 14: The cruise ship Costa Concordia lies stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio, on January 14, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a sandbank. At least 3 people have been confirmed dead and another 50 are unaccounted for. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 14: The cruise ship Costa Concordia lies stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio, on January 14, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a sandbank. At least 3 people have been confirmed dead and another 50 are unaccounted for. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 14: The cruise ship Costa Concordia lies stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio, on January 14, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a sandbank. At least 3 people have been confirmed dead and another 50 are unaccounted for. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 14: The cruise ship Costa Concordia lies stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio, on January 14, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a sandbank. At least 3 people have been confirmed dead and another 50 are unaccounted for. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 14: The cruise ship Costa Concordia lies stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio, on January 14, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a sandbank. At least 3 people have been confirmed dead and another 50 are unaccounted for. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 14: The cruise ship Costa Concordia lies stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio, on January 14, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a sandbank. At least 3 people have been confirmed dead and another 50 are unaccounted for. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 14: The cruise ship Costa Concordia lies stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio, on January 14, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a sandbank. At least 3 people have been confirmed dead and another 50 are unaccounted for. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 14: Crowds gather on the island of Giglio, where passengers aboard the cruise ship Costa Concordia have been staying after the vessel ran aground, on January 14, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a sandbank. At least 3 people have been confirmed dead and another 50 are unaccounted for. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
GIGLIO PORTO, ITALY - JANUARY 14: Crowds gather on the island of Giglio, where passengers aboard the cruise ship Costa Concordia have been staying after the vessel ran aground, on January 14, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a sandbank. At least 3 people have been confirmed dead and another 50 are unaccounted for. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)

The bodies of five more passengers were discovered in the wreckage of the Costa Concordia yesterday, as the feared death toll from the disaster continued to rise.

Authorities believe up to 25 passengers and four crew – including a five-year-old Italian girl and a woman on her honeymoon – to be still missing. So far 11 people are known to have perished.



A team of 700 are involved in the recovery operation, although hopes of finding anyone alive below the waterline of the ship are slim. Local police said it was possible some of the missing may have made their way home without contacting the authorities during the chaos of evacuation, while others may be among unidentified bodies found yesterday.



Among the missing are a group of up to 14 German tourists, as well as five Italian, four French and two Americans. Four crew members from Italy, Peru, India and Hungary are also feared lost.



A five-year-old girl, Dyana Arlotti, and her father William, 34, from Rimini, are unaccounted for. Also missing is Maria D'Introno, 30, from Turin, who was on her honeymoon. She is the only one from the wedding party not to reach safety.



The latest bodies – four men and a woman – were discovered by divers at the stern near an emergency evacuation point. They were wearing life jackets and aged between 50 and 60. All are believed to be passengers. Of the confirmed dead, two are known to be French, one is Italian, one Spanish and one is a Peruvian crew member.



Earlier, rescuers used three controlled explosions to blast into the ship, where they discovered the former holiday playground has been transformed by heavy floating furniture and pitch-black conditions into a perilous maze of cabins, bars and spas. The search is now focusing on areas of the ship where the passengers gathered. However, as one tearful firefighter said: "Virtually all the dry part has been searched. It would need a miracle to find anyone alive in the wet part."



Underwater cameras have assisted the search but no survivors have been found since Sunday. Luckily the weather improved yesterday after high seas caused the rescue effort to be suspended on Monday. However, meteorologists forecast a worsening of conditions in coming days.



Meanwhile, Smit, a Netherlands-based salvage company said it would take its engineers and divers up to four weeks to extract the 500,000 gallons of fuel aboard the ship. It also emerged that Carnival, the holding company of Costa Cruises, has called in Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the family of missing toddler Madeleine McCann, to handle its corporate communications during the crisis.

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