ITALIAN CRUISE SHIP WRECK DEATH TOLL RISES TO 15, FUEL PUMPING OUT TO BEGIN
- Rescuers found the bodies of two women in the wreck of an Italian ship on Monday, Jan 23, bringing the death toll to 15, as a Dutch company was given the go-ahead to pump out its 2,380 tons of fuel, AFP reported.
The grim discovery near the Costa Concordia cruise liner's Internet cafe came after navy frogmen used explosive to blew open more access points for divers.
"Two more bodies, two women, were found," said Franco Gabrielli, who is overseeing search and rescue operations on the Tuscan island of Giglio.
"We cannot tell what nationality they were. They haven't been extracted" from the half-submerged vessel, he told reporters on the scene.
Gabrielli said that DNA from the corpses would be compared to that of relatives of the missing, some of whom are awaiting anxiously on the shore with no news of their loved ones 10 days after the night-time disaster.
Seventeen people are officially still missing, although officials have emphasized there could have been at least one stowaway, a Hungarian woman, who was not on the list of people on board and is unaccounted for.
Gabrielli said the search of the 114,500-ton ship would continue "until all parts of the vessel that can be inspected have been checked out" and that a complex operation to empty the fuel tanks could be carried out at the same time.
"We have given authorization for the pumping to begin," he said.
The operation, known as "hot-tapping", involves pumping the fuel out into a nearby ship and replacing it with water so as not to affect the ship's balance.
Environmentalists say the fuel tanks have to be emptied as soon as possible to avert an environmental catastrophe in Europe's biggest marine sanctuary.
- 1861 Birth of the Hungarian-Armenian linguist and philologist, Ghookass Badroopanyan.
- 1904 Birth of the Armenian-Italian physician, Professor, Michael Arlen, son of the famous doctor Yervand Arlen. Michael Arlen was a Full Member of the British Medical Association.
- 1921 The ceremonial opening of Yerevan's People's University. In 1923 it was renamed Yerevan State University.
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