Body of little girl found in Concordia

2012-02-22 21:16

Rome - Divers searching the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship off a Tuscan island found eight bodies on Wednesday on one of the passenger decks, including that of a missing 5-year-old Italian girl, authorities said.

Italy's national civil protection agency, which is monitoring the operation off a Tuscan island, said three of the bodies were recovered a few hours after being spotted by fire department divers. It said they are those of a woman, a girl and a man. Because of worsening weather, the divers were not able to immediately remove the other five bodies.

The bodies were being transferred to a hospital on the mainland for identification, a process which could take days.

Before Wednesday's development, 15 people were listed as missing, but only one of them was a child, Dayana Arlotti. The 5-year-old girl was on the Mediterranean cruise with her father and his girlfriend. The girlfriend survived. The father was among the missing.

Including the missing - who are presumed dead - and bodies already recovered, the death toll in the accident stands at 32.

Dayana's father, Williams, had a history of health problems, and was said by family to be travelling to celebrate a new lease on life - he had received a kidney and pancreas transplant in the past. Some witnesses told media that they last saw him during the evacuation as he headed back to his cabin to retrieve life-saving medication.

Officials co-ordinating the search efforts said divers went into an area where survivors had told rescuers some passengers had been gathering to await evacuation. Many of the ship's lifeboats couldn't be launched after the ship leaned heavily on one side.

On Wednesday, helicopters lowered the Italian divers onto the above-water section of the Concordia, and then the divers scrambled down the side and swam through openings into wreckage.

Dayana's mother in the first days after the accident had been quoted as saying she was holding out hope her little girl somehow survived. After word came on Wednesday that the child's body was seen, she was reported to be heading to the hospital where the bodies were brought.

"I can't say if the mother was freed from a nightmare or not," her lawyer, Davide Veschi, told Sky TG24 TV.


- AP

Read more on:    costa  |  italy  |  cruise liner disaster
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