Divers find eight more bodies on Costa Concordia as police widen investigation


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The Independent Online

Divers searching the Costa Concordia have found eight more bodies, including that of a 5-year-old Italian girl, onboard the semi-submerged cruise ship.

The news comes as Italian media reported prosecutors had widened their investigation into the disaster to include seven more people, including employees of the ship's operator, Costa Crociere.

Italy's civil protection agency, which is managing the removal of the wreck, said the bodies of a woman, a girl and a man were recovered a few hours after being spotted by fire department divers. Because of worsening weather, the divers were not able to immediately remove the other five bodies. 

Italian prosecutors are already investigating the role the ship's captain Francesco Schettino and first officer Ciro Ambrosio may have played in the disaster.

The Costa Concordia had been carrying 4,229 passengers and crew when it struck rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio and keeled over onto its side.

Seventeen bodies were recovered in the days following the disaster and a further 11 people remain missing. The total death toll currently stands at 32. 

Salvage workers began pumping 2,400 tonnes of fuel oil from the ship's tanks on February 12, in an operation expected to take at least a month.