Cruise ship in crystal blue water with blue sky
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Cruise Ship Runs Aground off Coast of Italy – 6 Dead, 69 Missing

Posted by HolzbergLegal | January 14, 2012

Only hours ago, a Costa cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Tuscany and is now sinking.

The massive Costa Concordia – which was carrying more than 4,000 people (passengers and crew) – took on more water than it could handle through a 160-foot gash and the ship quickly listed to its side. Because one side of the ship rapidly submerged under water, nearly half of the life boats were rendered useless.

Currently, six people have been confirmed dead and another 69 are still missing, potentially lost on the capsized ship.

The 114,500-ton vessel’s captain, Francesco Schettino, was arrested and charged with manslaughter and leaving his post. According to reports, the captain of the luxury cruise liner abandoned ship after it that ran aground while countless people remained stranded on the sinking boat.

“They were at dinner at the time, and they just heard a bang and felt a jolt and all of a sudden the ship tilted,” said Phyllis Papa of Wallingford, Connecticut, whose sister and niece were aboard the luxury liner.

“There was a lot of chaos no one knew what to do or where to go, and they couldn’t walk because it was tilting so bad,” Papa said. “Everyone was screaming. They thought they were going to die.”

Officials at the United States Embassy in Rome said all of the Americans onboard the ill-fated ship were accounted for.

“They had nothing but their clothes on, they lost everything,” said Papa, who spoke to her sister Maria and niece, Melissa Goduti, in the hours after their brush with a watery grave. “They watched it sink.”

Carrying 3,206 passengers and 1,023 crew members, the Costa Concordia was on its usual weekly route across the Mediterranean Sea, which departed from Civitavecchia – the port of Rome – only three hours before disaster struck.

The Costa Concordia is now the largest vessel ever to sink. Notably, this horrific tragedy comes just months before the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
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