Rescuers continue to search a grounded cruise ship for both survivors and bodies as the confirmed death toll from this weekend's accident off the coast of Italy was raised to six. There are still 10 passengers and six crew members missing from from the ship's massive count of about 4,200 people on board, but rescuers say they are continuing to search parts of the ship that are still above water. An Italian TV station reports that divers had to evacuate the ship as it may have become dislodged from the rocks it has been stuck on.
The owner of the ship, Costa Cruises, admitted on Sunday that "there may have been significant human error" that led to the crash and partial sinking of their ocean liner. The captain of the boat, Francesco Schettino, remains under arrest in Italy on charges of manslaughter and abandonment of the ship. The company had originally defended the captain's behavior, but changed their tune after it became clear that survivors has spotted him escaping in a life boat long before the ship had been evacuated and that the bpat likely wandered too close to shore. Carnival Cruise Lines, which is the parent company of Costa, has seen its shares plummet 18 percent after saying it expects a loss of around $95 million this year.
Meanwhile, those who were on board the Costa Concordia are recounting their tales of confusion and fright as the boat shuddered aground in middle of evening events, then listed dangerously, forcing passengers to crawl through up-ended hallways. Passengers say they were originally told by crew members that there were just "technical difficulties" and electrical problems, even as it became clear that something more serious had happened. Crew members were initially reluctant to lower life boats and appeared "helpless and overwhelmed" in face of the emergency. Once the ship began to tilt on its side, it became impossible for lifeboats on that side to be lowered and some on the high side became stuck and could not reach the water.
In the chaos of the scene, many passengers feared the worst, calling loved ones back home and giving instructions to friends and family should they not make it back. A magician's assistant who was part of a show taking place on board was trapped inside a trick box when the ship ran aground. One couple says that they went on the cruise to save their marriage and that sharing the traumatic event together may have done just that.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.