70 missing from Italy cruise ship accident
Around 70 people are missing from the Italian cruise ship which ran aground overnight, but could be safe on the island of Giglio near the scene of the accident, an official said on Saturday.
On the basis of information supplied by the operators of the Costa Concordia, which said 4,234 passengers and crew were on board, "we have found 4,165, which is a difference of about 70 people," Giuseppe Linardi said, adding that a door-to-door search was under way on Giglio.
He said 52 children on board the ship, their ages up to six years old.
Linardi had earlier given a death toll of three and said 14 people were injured. Other sources spoke of about 40 injured, two of them seriously suffering from concussion and spinal injuries.
Port authorities in the Tuscan city of Livorno which coordinates rescue operations admitted that much more time was needed to compare the passenger list with that of the more than 4,000 survivors who were taken to the small port of Santo Stefano not far from the site of the accident.
Port authority official Enrico del Santos said people were evacuated by "life boats and the private boats of Giglio residents who then hosted those rescued".
An AFP photographer said Giglio residents offered their hospitality to survivors who fled the ship practically without any personal belongings, providing food and blankets.
Giglio's mayor ordered hotels which are normally closed during the winter months as well as schools and sports facilities to be reopened. A church also provided shelter.
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