Posted: Jan 14, 2012 5:08 PM
Source: Associated Press
PORTO SANTO STEFANO, Italy - The number of people missing after a luxury cruise liner ran aground off the coast of Italy last night has dropped to about 40.
Authorities and port officials have been carefully matching names on the cruise ship's list of passengers and crew with those of survivors getting off ferries or other boats on the mainland.
Divers have been searching the submerged portion of the ship for signs that survivors or victims may be trapped inside, but none have been found so far. The diving operations have been suspended for the night, but helicopters and sea searches are continuing.
Three bodies have been recovered from the sea. One was a Peruvian crew member, while the other two have been identified as French tourists.
Passengers have been describing a chaotic and terrifying evacuation, crawling along hallways to try to reach safety as lights flickered out and objects crashed around them. Some complain that the crew failed to give evacuation instructions once the emergency became clear and delayed lowering the lifeboats until the ship listed too far for many of them to be released.