Cruise Ship Disaster:

Cruise ship death toll continues to rise

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

 

The Costa Concordia death toll rose by two tonight - as all British passengers and crew were confirmed to have survived the disaster.

Two French nationals and a Peruvian died after the Italian-owned cruiser ran aground near the island of Giglio off the Tuscan coast on Friday night.

But this evening, as search and rescue teams battled failing light, the coastguard said the bodies of two elderly passengers were found by divers in a section of the submerged restaurant.

The news came just hours after a honeymooning South Korean couple were found alive, and a cabin services director was also rescued despite suffering a suspected broken leg.

Officials reduced the initial number of missing from 70 to 17 - six crew and 11 passengers.

Thirty people were said to be injured, two seriously.

Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed that the Britons, 23 passengers and 12 crew, were safe and well and being helped by officials to return home.

Speaking on Sky News, Mr Hague said: “We can say now, on the basis of the information available to us, that all the British nationals involved are accounted for and are safe.”

He added: “They have been through a very dreadful and distressing experience so we'll do all we can to look after them. That is our prime concern in a case like this, to make sure British nationals are safe and looked after.”

As pressure for an explanation of how the huge cruiser could crash into rocks intensified, the Concordia captain, Francesco Schettino, told Italian television he had not expected the rocks to be in the area where the ship ran aground.

He said: “I don't know if it was detected or not, but on the nautical chart it was marked just as water and some 100-150 metres (328ft-492ft) from the rocks, and we were about 300 metres (984ft) from the shore, more or less.

“We shouldn't have had this contact.”

Cpt Schettino and an officer were held and questioned by prosecutors on suspicion of multiple manslaughter, abandoning ship, and causing a shipwreck, state TV and Sky TV said.

But tonight one maritime expert said it was important the captain was given “leeway” and time to explain his decisions.

Karen Jacques, chief operating officer, of Dryad Maritime, which provides risk forecasts and advice to mariners, said: “It's his ship that's sinking and he will feel that in his belly.”

Police divers and rescue crews continued to circle the wrecked ship which sustained a massive gash after crashing into rocks.

Crews in dinghies examined the ship near the site of the 160-foot hull hole where water flooded in and caused the ship to lurch to its side.

Survivors said the terrifying, chaotic escape was like a scene from the Titanic which went down 100 years ago claiming 1,517 lives.

Many passengers complained the crew did not give them good directions on how to evacuate.

They also claimed that once it became clear it was an emergency there was a delay lowering the lifeboats until the ship was listing too heavily for many to be released.

Several other passengers said crew members told passengers for 45 minutes that there was a simple “technical problem” that had caused the lights to go off.

Angry passengers also claimed they never participated in an evacuation drill, although one had been scheduled for yesterday.

Cruise bosses defended the actions of the crew and said they were co-operating with the investigation.

Survivor John Rodford said staff gave him and his wife incorrect information as the drama unfolded while they were dining.

“They said 'No, it's all right, it's just a malfunction in the engines,” he told Sky News.

“Then it started tilting the other way and the plates came off the tables.”

He said passengers scrambled for lifejackets and he and his wife slid across the deck to find a lifeboat.

Mr Rodford said an evacuation drill was scheduled for the day after the cruise went down.

Reliving his escape, he said it was “chefs and waiters” helping passengers flee rather than officers.

He said: “The people who served us our dinner, were the people who helped us get on the lifeboats and were manning the lifeboats.

“I didn't see captains' jackets and things like that. It was dinner staff.”

He added that when it came to getting him off, the “Costa people are far and few between to be honest - very scarce”.

PA

News
i100
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsAll just to promote a new casino
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer SQL, C#, Stored Procedures, MDX...

Front-Office Developer (C#, .NET, Java, AI)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-Office D...

C#.NET Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, WPF, WCF, ASP.NET, Prism...

Creche Assistant or Nursery Nurse

£8 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: The Job Creche Assistant to start asap ...

Day In a Page

Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband