Tragedy as Costa Concordia Runs Aground

With three to eight people confirmed dead and many more missing, tragedy has struck the Costa Concordia, a luxury ship put into service in 2006.

The accident occurred on January 13, 2012, on the inaugural evening of the cruise which began in the Italian port of Civitavecchia near Rome. Some report that a bang and electrical failure occurred around 8 pm. Other reports simply state that at around 9 pm local, the ship ran aground on a reef near the island of Giglio cutting a huge gash into the hull of the ship. It is not clear at this writing whether two sequential incidents occurred, or if the ship simply ran aground.

The ship then began to list as much as 20 degrees as passengers donned life vests and began to evacuate the ship. The accident happened only a about 50 to 100 meters from shore. Amid the panic and perceived delays in launching the life vessels due to the list, some passengers jumped into the water to try to swim ashore. Reports state that three of those passengers drowned and as many as 7 sustained critical injuries. More recent reports state that the number dead could be as high as 8, with the number likely to increase as more rescue and recovery workers find more bodies. According to the associated press, as many as 70 passengers remain missing at the 12 hour mark after the accident.