Costa Cruise Lines' Costa Concordia cruise ship has evacuated most of its passengers after a disastrous situation this evening near the island of Giglio in southern Tuscany, Italy.
Media reports suggest that the cruise ship ran aground or struck a reef after departing from its regular course.
The grounding ruptured the hull and water entered the vessel, leading to the forced evacuation of many of the 4,231 passengers and crew from the stricken cruise ship into lifeboats. There are reports that passengers jumped into the water during the chaotic circumstances following the grounding.
The official statements from the cruise line are factually vague. There is no explanation regarding the cause of the grounding. The cruise line proclaims that the passengers are "not at risk," but this is probably the usual misleading and false cruise propaganda. Some media sources are reporting that there are passengers who are dead. Media sources are reporting around 3 passegers died and up to 50 are missing.
The Italian cruise ship carrying 3,200 passengers and approximately one thousand crewmembers. The Costa Concordia had departed for a Mediterranean cruise includio ports in Civitavecchia, Palermo, Cagliari, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Marseille and Savona.
News sources are quoting a passenger describing the mishap similar to the Titanic disaster, "with a scramble among the evacuees, screaming and crying."
January 14, 2012 Update:
Costa issued a statement that the cruise ship struck a "rock." Other news sources are reporting that the captain was arrested for manslaugter and abandoning the ship.
Canadian television CTV has an article about the grounding and cruise safety issues - Crime, Fires Compromise Cruise Ship Safety: Experts - which you can read here.
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