Cruise Liner Crash of the Day: At least three are dead and scores remain missing after the 950-foot cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground off the coast of Tuscany.
The ship, carrying 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members, apparently hit a sandbar near the island of Giglio.
An investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding the accident, as well as reports of the delayed evacuation and chaos which followed. Passengers are said to have crawled on their hands and knees, struggling to get to their assigned lifeboats, which the crew allegedly refused to lower.
“We had to scream at the controllers to release the boats from the side,” South African passenger Mike van Dijk is quoted as saying. “We were standing in the corridors and they weren’t allowing us to get onto the boats. It was a scramble, an absolute scramble.”
Prior to the incident, an evacuation drill had been scheduled for later this afternoon. “We had joked what if something had happened today,” American passenger Melissa Goduti told the AP.
Authorities believe many of those missing may be in hospitals or makeshift shelters organized by the town of 1,500. Rescue teams are searching the ship for survivors.
Costa, which is owned by Carnival, has its last major accident in 2010, when three crew members aboard another cruise ship were killed after the vessel struck a dock in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm al-Sheikh.
[bbc / nyt / cnn / atlantic / msnbc.]