The 291 meter long, 10000 dwt passenger ship Costa Concordia went aground off the island of Giglio, Italy. The cruise ship, loaded with more than 4,234 passengers and crew, struck a rock on the seafloor tearing a 160 foot gash along the port hull. The vessel suffered severe ingress of water near the engine room causing the Concordia to lose power. The water continued to flood the vessel causing it to list over to starboard. Many passengers were thrown overboard while others found themselves trapped in the dark inside their cabins. Passengers report that the evacuation was unorganized and chaos as they searched their way through the vessel to lifeboats. The vessel continued to list to starboard making it impossible to reach or launch lifeboats. Fortunately, the vessel was close to shore and the sea was calm. Initial reports state 3 people died (2 passengers, 1 crewman) with another 40 injured. However, there are some 50 to 70 people reported as missing. Divers will proceed into the vessel to check for any additional survivors and recover any bodies. Italian authorities have launched an investigation into the incident and are looking at possible criminal charges against the officers and owners of the Concordia.
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