Third survivor located on stricken cruise ship

Police divers and rescue crews are circled around the wreckage of the cruise ship that ran aground and tipped over off the Tuscan coast in an apparent search for the few dozen people who remain unaccounted for.
Crews in dinghies were seen Sunday morning touching the hull with their hands. They were near the site of the 160-foot-long gash where water flooded in and caused the ship to fall on its side.
Coast guard officials have said divers will try to enter the belly of the ship in case anyone is still inside.
talian news reports quoting local officials say some 40 people remain unaccounted for out of the 4,200 passengers and crew. Three people are confirmed dead.
Survivors, meanwhile, described a chaotic evacuation as plates and glasses crashed, and they crawled along upended hallways trying to reach safety.
Prato fire commander Vincenzo Bennardo told the Associated Press that rescuers had been banging on doors of the ship cabins in the non-submerged part of the ship when they heard a reply from one of the rooms early Sunday. The couple, in their late 20s, were in good condition.
Spokesman Luca Cari told the Associated Press that rescuers had spoken to an Italian working in cabin service, who is the third survivor to be found.
The ship's Italian captain, Francesco Schettino, was detained late Saturday and is being investigated for manslaughter and abandoning ship. The AP reports Schettino is being held in a jail in Grosseto, Italy, until next week, when a judge will decide whether he should be released or formally put under arrest. In Italy, suspects can be held without charge for a few days for investigation.
The chief prosecutor in the Tuscan city of Grosseto, Francesco Verusio, was quoted by the ANSA news agency as telling reporters that the captain "very ineptly got close to Giglio," the AP reports.
"The ship struck a reef that got stuck inside the left side, making it (the ship) lean over and take on a lot of water in the space of two, three minutes," he said.
Schettino was at the command, and it was "he who ordered the route, that's what it appears to us. It was a deliberate" choice to follow that route, ANSA quote him as saying.
According to the AP, Schettino's lawyer, Bruno Leporatti, said his client understands why he was being detained but that "as his defender, I'd like to say that several hundred people owed their life to the expertise that the commander of the Costa Concordia showed during the emergency."
ANSA quoted Francesco Schettino's sister, Giulia, as saying her brother called their mother, 80-year-old Rosa, at five in the morning, saying "Mamma, there has been a tragedy. But stay calm. I tried to save the passengers. But for a while, I won't be able to phone you."
Officials say the captain appears to have taken the vessel close to shore in a dangerous manner, Reuters says.
"There was a dangerous close approach which very probably caused the accident, although it will be for the investigation to establish that fully," coast guard spokesman Luciano Nicastro told SkyTG24. He said the captain then attempted a safety maneuver, setting anchor and bringing the ship closer to the shore to facilitate a rescue.
Costa Crociera SpA, owned by the U.S. based Carnival Corp., defended the actions of the crew and says it is cooperating with the investigation, the AP says.
Authorities were looking at why the ship didn't hail a mayday during the accident near the Italian island of Giglio on Friday night. The ship is owned by Genoa-based Costa Cruises, a mass-market line that caters to an international clientele and whose parent company is the industry giant Carnival Corporation.
Three bodies — two French tourists and a crew member from Peru — were recovered from the sea after Costa Cruises' 6-year-old Costa Concordia ran aground near the coast of Tuscany late Friday, tearing a 160-foot gash in its hull and sending in a rush of water.
Costa said about 1,000 Italian passengers were onboard, as well as more than 500 Germans, 126 Americans, about 160 French and about 1,000 crew members.
By morning Saturday, the ship was lying virtually flat off Giglio's coast, its starboard side submerged in the water and the huge gash showing clearly on its upturned hull.
The Friday the 13th grounding of the Concordia was one of the most dramatic cruise ship accidents in recent memory. It immediately raised a host of questions: Why did it hit a reef so close to the Tuscan island of Giglio? Did a power failure cause the crew to lose control? Did the captain — under investigation on manslaughter allegations — steer it in the wrong direction on purpose? And why did crew members tell passengers they weren't in danger until the boat was listing perilously to the side?
The delay made lifeboat rescue eventually impossible for some of the passengers, some of whom jumped into the sea while others waited to be plucked to safety by helicopters. Some boats had to be cut down with an axe.
Passengers described a scene reminiscent of "Titanic" — which sank 100 years ago this April —complaining 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.
Under U.S. Coast Guard and the International Maritime Organization's Safety of Life at Sea regulations, cruise ships must conduct a safety drill within 24 hours of sailing with instructions on the use of life jackets and how and where to muster in an emergency. But passengers are not required to attend, and cruise lines vary in how quickly they hold the drill and how stringently they enforce passenger participation.
In the U.S., for example, Royal Caribbean and sister lines Celebrity and Azamara, like most U.S.-based lines, conduct all lifeboat drills before departure, says Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Michele Nadeem.
But, says cruise expert and guidebook author Fran Golden, while "cruise lines make a good effort to make people pay attention during drills, many don't." Golden says another potential problem on ships such as the Costa Concordia, which draw passengers from many different countries, is the fact that all announcements are made in multiple languages, which "can be a bit of a recipe for chaos."
"Cruise lines for years have been saying the (sinking of the) Titanic could never happen again because of all the safety procedures put in place," says Golden. "It seems pretty clear there was a'perfect storm' of things that went wrong here."
A top Costa executive, Gianni Onorato, said Saturday the Concordia's captain had the liner on its regular, weekly route when it struck a reef. Italian coast guard officials said the circumstances were still unclear, but that the ship hit an unknown obstacle.
Despite some early reports that the captain was dining with passengers when his ship crashed into the reef, he was on the bridge, Onorato said.
There were no firm indications that anyone was trapped under the sunken ship. Rescuers carried out extensive searches of the waters near the ship for hours and "we would have seen bodies," said Coast Guard Capt. Cosimo Nicastro.
Many passengers complained the crew didn't give them good directions on how to evacuate and once the emergency became clear, delayed lowering the lifeboats until the ship was listing too heavily for many to be released.
"It was so unorganized, our evacuation drill was scheduled for 5 p.m." on Saturday, said Melissa Goduti, 28, of Wallingford, Connecticut, who had departed on the Mediterranean cruise on Friday. "We had joked 'What if something had happened today?'"
"Have you seen 'Titanic?' That's exactly what it was," said Valerie Ananias, 31, a schoolteacher from Los Angeles who was traveling with her sister and parents on the first of two cruises around the Mediterranean. They all bore dark red bruises on their knees from the desperate crawl they endured along nearly vertical hallways and stairwells, trying to reach rescue boats.
"We were crawling up a hallway, in the dark, with only the light from the life vest strobe flashing," her mother, Georgia Ananias, 61, said. "We could hear plates and dishes crashing, people slamming against walls."
She choked up as she recounted the moment when an Argentine couple handed her their 3-year-old daughter, unable to keep their balance as the ship lurched to the side and the family found themselves standing on a wall. "He said 'take my baby,'" Mrs. Ananias said, covering her mouth with her hand as she teared up. "I grabbed the baby. But then I was being pushed down. I didn't want the baby to fall down the stairs. I gave the baby back. I couldn't hold her.
"I thought that was the end and I thought they should be with their baby," she said.
"I wonder where they are," daughter Valerie whispered.
The family said they were some of the last off the ship, forced to shimmy along a rope down the exposed side of the ship to a waiting rescue vessel below.
Some 30 people were reported injured, most of them suffering only bruises, but at least two people were reported in grave condition. Some passengers, apparently in panic, had jumped off the boat into the sea, witnesses said.
The evacuees were taking refuge in schools, hotels, and a church on Giglio, a popular vacation isle about 18 miles off Italy's central west coast.
Passengers sat dazed in a middle school opened for them, wrapped in wool or aluminum blankets, with some wearing their life preservers and their shoeless feet covered with aluminum foil. Civil protection crews served them warm tea and bread, but confusion reigned supreme as passengers tried desperately to find the right bus to begin their journey home.
Survivors far outnumbered Giglio's 1,500 residents, and island Mayor Sergio Ortelli issued an appeal for islanders — "anyone with a roof" — to open their homes to shelter the evacuees.
A coast guard official said the exact circumstances of the accident were still unclear, but that the first alarm went off about 10:30 p.m., about three hours after the Concordia had begun its voyage from the port of Civitavecchia, en route to its first port of call, Savona, in northwestern Italy.
The Concordia had a previous accident in Italian waters, ANSA reported. In 2008, when strong winds buffeted Palermo, the cruise ship banged against the Sicilian port's dock, and suffered damage but no one was injured, ANSA said. In February 2010, another Costa ship, the Europa, hit a pier in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, killing three crew members.
Despite the fact that Costa draws few American passengers, the fact that it is a modern, state-of-the-art vessel will impact cruise sales on this side of the Atlantic as well, at least temporarily, said Mike Driscoll, editor of the industry publication Cruise Week.
"From what travel agents are telling me, that horrifying image (of the massive ship on its side) is going to turn the cruise industry on its side, too," said Driscoll.

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