Ship aground off Italy; 3 bodies found, 69 missing

PORTO SANTO STEFANO, Italy (AP) -- Divers have been searching the submerged part of a luxury cruise liner that went aground off the Italian coast in case any of 70 people unaccounted for might be trapped inside, a coast guard official said Saturday, as passengers described a delayed and terrifying evacuation.Three bodies were recovered from the sea after the Costa Concordia ran aground off the tiny island of Giglio near the coast of Tuscany late Friday, tearing a 160-foot (50-meter) gash in its hull and sending in a rush of water. The ANSA new agency identified them as two French passengers and a Peruvian crew member but did not cite a source.Passengers described a scene reminiscent of \Titanic\, saying they escaped the ship by crawling along upended hallways, desperately trying to reach safety as the lights went out and plates and glasses crashed.Authorities say there are 70 people of the 4,234 on board who are still unaccounted for amid the confusion. Capt. Cosimo Nicastro cautioned there is no firm indication anyone is inside the ship, but he said since sea searches yielded neither bodies nor survivors, there is a possibility those unaccounted for are in \the belly of the ship\ some 18 hours after the it apparently hit a reef near Giglio island - then lurched over on its side.Passsengers complained the crew failed to give instructions on how to evacuate and once the emergency became clear, delayed lowering the lifeboats until the ship was listing too heavily for many of them to be released.Authorities have been checking names against the passenger list, but have had a hard time accounting for everyone. Helicopters whisked some to safety, some survivors were rescued by private boats in the area, and witnesses said some people jumped from the ship into the dark, cold sea.By morning Saturday, the ship was lying virtually flat off Gigio's coast, its starboard side submerged in the water and the huge gash showing clearly on its upturned hull.Authorities still hadn't counted all the survivors by the time they reached mainland 12 hours later.The evacuation drill was only scheduled for Saturday afternoon, even though some passengers had already been on board for several days.\It was so unorganized

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