Five more bodies have been found in the Costa Concordia wreckage off the coast of Giglio, bringing the death toll to 11, with 24 people still missing. Explosives were used by rescuers to blow a massive hull in the side of the ship so they could continue their search into parts of previously inaccessible areas of the ship.
Marco Brusco, a coastguard official, said that there is still a glimmer of hope that some of the missing could have survived. But, mayor Sergio Ortelli from Giglio said that any hopes of finding them alive is minimal.
It has been reported that the captain of the ship, Francesco Schettino, had walked away from the ship and hailed a taxi so he could get away from the disaster area. One witness, the deputy mayor of Giglio, Mario Pellegrini, said that he boarded the ship at 11 p.m. and saw no signs of the captain onboard.
Schettino is being investigated for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck, and abandoning ship by prosecutors. He is also being accused of leaving the ship before all of the 4,200 people onboard evacuated safely.
An attorney for Costa Cruises, Clarence Mitchell, said, “Mr (Pier Luigi) Foschi confirmed the captain had been approaching the island of Giglio to ‘make a salute’. The company says this (incident) was caused by an attempt by the captain to show the ship to the port. But there’s a criminal investigation going on and we’re not going to say anything that’s going to compromise that or the captain’s case.”
The shipwreck could also cause an environmental crisis because rough seas have been battering the ship, which could cause the ship to leak oil into the water, which is a protected sanctuary for porpoises, whales, and dolphins.
The captain has been blamed by operators of the cruise line for sailing too close to land in order to show the ship to the port. The Costa Cruise chairman also said that the captain movements with the ship were unauthorized deviations from the route so he could make a salute.
Foschi has apologized for tragic event, which has caused injury to dozens of people. Foschi also said that the ship is very safe and that the captain made an unauthorized and unapproved deviation from the programmed course for the ship.
“This route was put in correctly,” he said. “The fact that it left from this course is due solely to a manoeuvre by the commander that was unapproved, unauthorised and unknown to Costa. Personally and on behalf of the Costa Crociere (Cruises) I want to say we are very sorry for this tragic accident that’s happened.”