Cruise Ship in Italy: Captain Reportedly Arrested After Tragedy

Three people are confirmed dead and more than 70 are unaccounted for after a tragic accident during which a luxury cruise liner ran aground on the Tuscan island of Giglio.

Hours later, the reports from those aboard the liner indicate a chaotic scene when the Costa Concordia began to tilt after it struck coral reef near Isola del Giglio. It’s probably not surprising several surviving passengers have likened their experience in escaping the doomed vessel to that of the Titanic, describing “nearly vertical” halls and walkways and climbing desperately to safety- many bearing bruised limbs from the arduous escape.

Passengers also complain of a disorganized journey from the start, saying that even before the Costa Concordia struck the reef, evacuation drills were delayed. Many allege that the ship’s crew was slow to direct terrified passengers after the chaos began, and by the time lifeboats were considered, the ship was listing too much for many of the emergency boats to be released.

The ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, has reportedly been arrested by Italian authorities on suspicion of manslaughter and abandoning ship. Emilio Del Santo of the Coastal Authorities of Livorno gave a statement, in which he said of the investigation prior to Schettino’s arrest:

“At the moment we can’t exclude that the ship had some kind of technical problem, and for this reason moved towards the coast in order to save the passengers, the crew and the ship. But they didn’t send a mayday. The ship got in contact with us once the evacuation procedures were already ongoing.”

Originally, it was reported that as many as nine people had died, and it is unclear why the number has dropped to three. The dead have been identified as two French tourists and a crew member from Peru.