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Cruise Ship Runs Aground Off Italy; 3 Killed, Dozens Missing

Italy Cruise runs aground
The luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia leans on its side as after running aground off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012. The luxury cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Tuscany, sending water pouring in through a 160-foot (50-meter) gash in the hull and forcing the evacuation of some 4,200 people from the listing vessel early Saturday, the Italian coast guard said. (AP Photo/Enzo Russo)
Italy Cruise Aground Mian
The luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia leans on its side as after running aground off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Enzo Russo)

The captain of the luxurious cruise ship, Costa Concordia, that ran aground and killed three people and left dozens unaccounted for, has been arrested, CNN is reporting. The captain, Francesco Schettino, is being investigated for manslaughter and abandoning ship, the report said, citing local prosecutors in Italy.

It was reported that authorities were interviewing the captain of the ship about what happened on Friday when the cruise ship, holding more than 4,000 passengers and crew members, ran aground off the small island of Giglio, which is near the coast of Tuscany.

According to the report, officials were trying to figure out why the ship didn’t send out a distress call when the accident occurred. An official told CNN that the ship got in contact with authorities once passengers were being evacuated.

Authorities are trying to piece together the puzzle of the accident that resulted in a “chaotic” scene on the ship, as they continue to search for dozens of missing passengers after rescue teams spent the night evacuating the ship that was holding thousands of people when it hit a sandbar and started to tilt.

There have been conflicting reports about the number of dead and missing. Multiple reports say three people are dead after initial reports said six people died in what some passengers have been describing as a “Titanic” like event.

Pictures and Video of cruise ship from Twitter

As many as 40 people are still unaccounted for and officials are constantly checking the passenger list, according to reports. The number is down from the initial report of about 70 people missing after the accident.

Rescuers from the Coast Guard were navigating the waters around the ship to search for the missing passengers, and dive teams were also seen searching areas of the ship that submerged.

Passengers interviewed by the Associated Press described the evacuation as “chaotic,” and some complained that the ship’s crew didn’t effectively outline evacuation instructions to passengers.

PHOTO GALLERY: IMAGES OF THE CRUISE SHIP

Survivors said plates and glasses crashed to the ground, as they crawled through hallways to try to find safety and get to lifeboats.

“It was so unorganized, our evacuation drill was scheduled for 5 p.m.,” Melissa Goduti, 28, of Connecticut told the AP. “We had joked ‘What if something had happened today?'”

Some passengers said they were eating dinner when they heard a crash and the ship went dark. Others also explained to the AP that it took crew members up to 45 minutes to tell passengers that a “technical problem” caused the lights to go out.

But in a statement released on its website, Costa said evacuation started “promptly but the position of the ship has worsened, making it more complicated to complete the last part of the evacuation.”

Officials said early Saturday that 4,165 of the 4,234 aboard the luxurious ship have been accounted for.

BBC reported that more than a thousand on board the ship were from Italy, Germany, France and Britain.

The U.S. State Department said 126 U.S. citizens were aboard the ship, but there hasn’t been any reports of injuries, according to the AP.

The cruise line said 1,000 passengers were Italian, 500 were German and about 150 were French. There was about 1,000 crew members on board.

Costa said in a statement: “It is a tragedy that deeply affects our company. Our first thoughts go to the victims and we would like to express our condolences and our closeness to their families and friends. In this moment all our efforts are focused on the completion of the last emergency operations, besides providing assistance to the guests and the crew who were onboard in order to have them going back home as soon as possible.”

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