The remains of two bodies were found on board the wrecked Costa Concordia nine days after the cruise ship was successfully righted in an unprecedented 19-hour operation off the Italian island of Giglio.
“The location of the remains and the first findings lead us to believe that they might be the ones of the two people we were looking for,” Italy’s civil protection agency chief Franco Gabrielli told reporters in Giglio in comments broadcast by SkyTG24. “The DNA test will confirm whether this is actually the case.”
The Concordia, with 4,200 passengers and crew, rammed into rocks and partially sank off the Tuscan coast on Jan. 13, 2012. A team led by Florida-based Titan Salvage and Italy’s Micoperi on Sept. 14 successfully righted the cruise liner that had been lying on its side since it capsized 20 months ago, killing 32 passengers. The righting revealed submerged parts of the ship that were never exposed and allowed rescue divers to reach new areas, providing clues on the location of the two remaining bodies that had never been found.
The Costa Concordia’s Captain Francesco Schettino is the only defendant in a criminal trial after being indicted earlier this year on charges including manslaughter and abandoning the ship while many passengers were still on board. Schettino, who has always denied any wrongdoing, saying his actions saved lives, faces as many as 20 years in jail if convicted, according to prosecutor Francesco Verusio.
The rotation of the 952-foot (290-meter) ship cost about 600 million euros ($810 million), according to Carnival Corp’s Costa Crociere SpA Italian unit, which owns the ship. The 114,500-ton ship will rest on underwater platforms for months before being towed to a port to be broken up.
The Concordia’s final destination still has to be decided after a number of Italian ports expressed interest in scrapping the wrecked ship.