8 bodies found in liner wreck; probe grows

Feb. 23, 2012 at 8:21 AM   |   Comments

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ROME, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Divers found eight bodies in the Costa Concordia cruise ship wreckage off Italy's coast as the investigation into the disaster expanded, officials said.

Officials said four people were found underwater on deck four near where the ship's lifeboats were stationed and another four were found elsewhere Wednesday, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

The discovery of the bodies means 25 people are confirmed dead and seven remain unaccounted-for in the Jan. 13 disaster when the Costa Concordia slammed into a rock formation off Italy's Tuscan coast. The cruise ship had been carrying 4,200 passengers and crew.

Officials said seven more people -- four ship officials and three employees of the liner's parent Costa Cruises – were being investigated on suspicion of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and failing to communicate properly with maritime authorities, ANSA reported.

Prosecutor also added another charge in its case against Francesco Schettino, the captain who left the Costa Concordia before many of the passengers.

ANSA said Schettino now is being investigated for failure to communicate properly with maritime authorities.

Schettino is under house arrest at his home near Naples and faces charges of abandoning ship and multiple counts of manslaughter. He has denied the allegations.

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