Divers searching the Costa Concordia, the Italian cruise ship that ran aground on Friday and began to sink, suspended their search of the ship on Wednesday. The ship shifted by more than a meter, delaying any further progress towards locating the missing persons or removing fuel, Reuters reported.
The ship hit a rock and began to capsize five days ago near the Tuscan island of Giglio. Eleven people out of the over 4,000 on board are confirmed dead, and 22 are still missing. As the days continue, hope of finding survivors in the chilly water fades. Divers had been searching the ship for survivors, but had to stop after the ship shifted by over a meter. Authorities said however that although the ship had stabilized, it's not clear when the search would resume, if it did.
We are asking that in this moment all the rescue team units and authorities don't lose any time and do everything they can to recover or find, dead or alive, my daughter, Sartonino Soria who had come from Peru after learning that his daughter Erika, a member of the crew, was missing, told Reuters. Some of the missing are believed to be among the dead that have been found, but not yet identified.
Divers blasted the hull of the Costa Concordia with explosives to create entries, and began their search, but the darkness made it near impossible. The visibility is awful. Yesterday I couldn't see my hand in front of my face, Giuseppe Minciotti, one of the specialist diving team deployed on the wreck, told Reuters. I grabbed a piece of floating debris, and I couldn't see what it was until I had my head out of the water. It was a woman's shoe.
If the ship sinks any further, it's possible that it slips down a nearby ledge, which is 160 to 300 feet deep. If that happens, the 2,300 tons of fuel on board could leak out, causing an environmental disaster. Italy put pollution barriers in place in case that happens.
The Costa Concordia's captain, Francesco Schettino, has been blamed with causing the accident by steering to close to the shore. He then abandoned the ship before evacuation was complete. Schettino was placed under house arrest Tuesday.