The Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia ran aground on Friday night off the west coast of Italy, killing at least five people and injuring many more.
The 3,200 passengers and 1,023 crew on board the Costa Concordia were evacuated by lifeboats, helicopters and other ships in the area.
Italian coast guards are currently combing the waters around the Costa Concordia, which is lying on its side and divers are searching its submerged decks for trapped passengers. Two passengers – a South Korean couple – were found alive on the submerged cruise ship, a further two passengers were later found by divers dead in their cabins.
The president of Costa Cruises, Gianni Onorato confirmed that the ship had experienced a blackout after hitting “a big rock”, and have claimed ‘significant human error’ as the cause of the collission.
After the collision, the captain piloted Concordia towards the pier as the vessel listed. He along with his First Officer have recently been detained by Italian Authorities
‘Echoes of the Titanic’
Eyewitnesses and experts have compared the disaster to the sinking of the Titanic – whose 100 year anniversary is memorialised in April this year.
The BBC has reported the chaos on the ship, despite the crew’s efforts to keep order. One survivor, Fulvio Rocci saying ” There was panic, like in a film, dishes crashing to the floor, people running, people falling down the stairs”.
Crew member Fabio Costa was reported to say “Everybody was trying to get on the boats at the same time. When people had to get on the lifeboats they were pushing each other. It was a bit chaotic. We were trying to keep passengers calm but it was just impossible. Nobody knew what was going on.”
Many people decided it was too difficult to get on to a lifeboat and instead swam to the the nearby island of Giglio, where they were treated for hypothermia.
This video from Russia Today shows dramatic shots of the Concordia sinking under the waves
You can read the BBC’s full coverage of the Costa Concordia accident here
Costa Concordia is large ocean liner weighing 114,500 tonnes and full passenger capacity of 3,780. The ship has 13 bars, a three level theatre and a large multi-purpose sports pitch.
For more information you can read our Costa Corcordia ship profile
The thoughts of all at Cruise International are with the passengers, their families, and Costa.