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3 Dead, Dozens Missing in Cruise Liner Wreck in Italy


A cruise ship that ran aground is seen off the west coast of Italy at Giglio island, January 14, 2012.

A cruise ship that ran aground is seen off the west coast of Italy at Giglio island, January 14, 2012.

Firefighters have reached two survivors trapped in a cabin on the stricken Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia in the Tiranian Sea.

The firefighters had made voice contact with the couple Saturday and found them in a cabin. At least three people were killed when the ship ran aground Friday evening off the northern Italian coast and flipped on its side with a breach in its hull. More than 30 others were injured.

Three bodies were recovered from the sea, and authorities say at least 40 people remain missing nearly 24 hours after the incident. Officials quoted by ANSA news agency said two Frenchmen died in the incident as well as one Peruvian crew member.

On Saturday, the ship's captain, Italian Francesco Schettino, was taken into custody after several hours of questioning. Italian news agency ANSA says he could be facing several charges, including homicide and abandonment of the ship.

Video of survivors

Emergency operations halted as night fell on Saturday, after divers spent the day scouring the half submerged cruise liner and the coast guard searched the surrounding waters.

Rescuers using lifeboats and helicopters evacuated the more than 4,000 passengers and crew members to the island of Giglio and to Porto Santo Stefano on the mainland early Saturday.

Passengers who made it safely to land recounted the chaotic and terrifying evacuation. One of them was an American tourist from Arkansas, Mike Plath, who said some people had to swim to the shore.

"We were all standing there, and as the boat started going a little quicker, turning, I saw one of the cranes... It popped the life raft, and it exploded and it went boom! And it just crashed. There were two people on it, they got off I think... we saw like five people jump in the water and start swimming," said Plath.

Passengers were sitting down to dinner at the time of the incident Friday night and were told the ship was having electrical problems.

There is no word yet on why the ship ran aground. When it hit the rocks, officials say, passengers were instructed to put on life jackets and to take to life rafts.

The Costa Concordia is 290 meters long, with 13 decks. It had 13 bars, five restaurants, four swimming pools and 500 balconied staterooms.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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