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Costa Concordia Tragedy: Captain Accused of Abandoning Ship

Costa Concordia Tragedy: Captain Accused of Abandoning Ship

A helicopter has airlifted a third survivor from the capsized luxury cruise ship, the Costa Concordia, 36 hours after it ran aground off the Italian coast, on Sunday.

Prosecutors have already said they are investigating the captain of the ship for manslaughter charges, after he allegedly abandoned the ship before all the passengers had escaped. Seventeen people remain missing from the tragedy, and a South Korean couple traveling together on their honeymoon was rescued late Saturday after rescuers heard their screams for help.

So far just three people have been confirmed dead out of the 4,200 plus people on board when the cruise ship ran aground sparking a mass evacuation.

Tuscany's regional president Enrico Rossi has said that there are still six crew members and 11 passengers unaccounted for by Sunday afternoon.

Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground is seen off the west coast of Italy at Giglio island January 14, 2012. At least three people were killed and rescuers were searching for other victims after the Italian cruise ship carrying more than 4,000 people ran aground and keeled over in shallow waters. |

Eye witnesses have reported to The Associated Press that they saw the captain in a lifeboat, covered by a blanket, well before all the passengers were off the ship. According to the Italian navigation code, a captain who abandons a ship in an emergency situation can face up to 12 years in prison.

Tragedy struck as the Costa Concordia hit rocks allegedly not on nautical charts. Captain Schettino has said, “We were navigating approximately 300 meters (yards) from the rocks. There shouldn't have been such a rock.”

He also denies leaving the ship before all passengers were off, saying: “We were the last ones to leave the ship.”

A mass was held at Giglio Sunday where the church opened its doors to survivors Friday. Don Lorenzo, the parish priest, explained that he wanted to make a "different" offering to God in memory of the incident. According to the Huffington Post he had children bring up bread that “multiplied to feed the survivors,” the rope that “pulled people to safety,” the life vest and helmet that “protected them,” and finally the plastic tarp that “kept cold bodies warm.”

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