- (Photo: REUTERS/Italian Guardia di Finanza)
Dozens of passengers remain missing after a cruise liner reportedly hit a reef late Friday, causing what many passengers are calling a "Titanic-like" crisis.
"Have you seen 'Titanic?' That's exactly what it was," Valerie Ananias, 31, from Los Angeles told The Associated Press.
Three people have been reported dead and 70 are still unaccounted for, according to AP. More than 4,000 people were on board the Costa Concordia, half of which is now underwater.
The ship ran aground off the coast of Tuscany, Italy, just hours after leaving port Friday night. The accident caused a 160-foot gash on the side of the ship, causing water to rush in. The cruise liner soon leaned to one side, making many lifeboats unavailable.
Passengers recalled the event, reporting multiple blackouts, a loud scraping sound and people crawling through hallways as the ship tilted.
Rosalyn Rincon, who was in the middle of a magic show when the ship ran aground, also compared the incident to what happened in the movie "Titanic."
"The water coming up, there's obviously nothing you can do," Rincon said to CNN. "It was just chaos."
Some jumped into the icy waters during the chaos to try to make it to the nearby land. Others made it to safety on lifeboats and with the help of helicopters.
Divers are currently searching the submerged part of the vessel for missing persons.
The thousands of evacuees, meanwhile, have taken refuge in small churches, schools and other buildings on the island of Giglio.
The cruise ship is reportedly one of the biggest in the Costa Cruises fleet.
Gianni Onorato, Costa's director general, said Saturday,
"The ship was doing what it does 52 times a year, going along the route between Civitavecchia and Savona," as reported by AP.
Costa is cooperating with Italian investigators to determine the problem.