Italian authorities say that they have found five more bodies in the Costa Concordia wreck site off the island of Giglio, Italy. This latest find brings the total of bodies found to 30.
Civil Protection Agency chief Franco Gabrielli did not give details on the sex or ages of the victims. Eight other bodies were found in February, and forensic authorities are still working to identify them. This latest find leaves two people missing, presumed dead.
The Costa Concordia was carrying 4,200 passengers and crew when it capsized on January 13, after its hull was torn open by rocks. A spokesperson for the agency said that all the bodies were discovered at the rear of the vessel, and will take several days to remove, as the operation requires robots.
Italian authorities elaborated, saying that the bodies were found outside the ship, in a small space between the wreck and the seabed.
Hundreds of people have been working to contain and remove the wreck since January, including an operation by salvagers to pump more than 2,300 tons of fuel from the fated vessel. The fuel pumping operation will be completed on Friday, removing the threat of an oil spill from the surrounding area.
Franco Gabrielli, the head of the Civil Protection Agency, said at a news conference on the island of Giglio that, “the fuel problem is resolved.”
The ship’s owner, Costa Cruises, stated that Smit and Tito Neri will be monitoring safety in the area in a “caretaking” phase until the removal of the vessel begins.
Meanwhile, captain Francesco Schettino has been accused by prosecutors of causing the accident. They claim that he is at fault after bringing the cruise ship too close to the shore. Schettino, who has been dubbed “Captain Coward,” was accused of manslaughter and abandoning the ship before all its passengers had been evacuated.
Plans are underway to remove the liner. Six working plans have been submitted for the contract, and Costa Cruises said the best plan will be selected and announced in April. The removal of the ship, which has laid on its side, half-submerged since January, is expected to take a year.
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