Newlyweds rescued in cruise ship disaster

2012-01-15 08:16
Giglio Island - Rescuers evacuated a honeymooning South Korean couple from a cruise ship that hit rocks and keeled over off the west coast of Italy, Italy's ANSA news agency said on Sunday, quoting rescuers.

The couple, both aged 29, were rescued by firemen from a lower deck of the Costa Concordia, ANSA said.

They had boarded the ship on their first-ever cruise at Civitavecchia, further south on the Italian coast.

The report of the rescue came after Luca Cari, a spokesperson for the fire brigade at the scene of the disaster off the island of Giglio, told AFP that 35 emergency workers were trying to reach the pair.

The couple had been stranded in cabin 303 two decks below rescuers on the half-submerged ship, where a search for dozens of missing people out of more than 4 200 originally on board was continuing late into the night.

The Korean couple were in good health and able to walk off the firemen's boat onto Giglio in Tuscany, where an ambulance took them away for medical checks, ANSA said.

24-hour nightmare

"The cabins were checked out one by one... when we arrived at the stern we called out hoping someone might reply. Which was the case," fire service chief Fabio Bargagna said.

The honeymooners told the rescuers they had heard a lot of noise but had not been able to make themselves heard earlier.

They said they had not seen or heard anyone else around them in their 24-hour nightmare.

In Seoul, a foreign ministry official confirmed the rescue of the couple saying they were in good health and being taken to a hospital for medical checkups.

"They have been trapped inside for a long time so we are checking their health just in case," the official told AFP, declining to be named.

The official did not want to give the couple's names, citing privacy concerns.

He told AFP that a total of 35 South Koreans, including two crew members, had been found so far in the rescue effort.

Three people have been confirmed dead in the disaster, and rescuers were continuing their search on all decks that had not been submerged. The number of missing has been put at between 40 and 60.

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