(GIGLIO, Italy) — Divers searching the stricken Costa Concordia listing in the water of Italy’s Tuscan coast found five more bodies inside the half-submerged cruise ship Tuesday, bringing the death toll in the catastrophe to 11.
The victims were found under water at the stern of the ship, after search-and-rescue divers blasted holes in the hull of the vessel to access the lower decks.
Before the bodies were discovered authorities had said that 29 people were missing, including Jerry and Barbara Heil of Minnesota. Also among the missing was a 5-year-old girl. The victims recovered Tuesday were not immediately identified.
Operations are now in motion to retrieve a second black-box recorder that has been located in the wreckage, Warrant Petty Officer Massimo Macaroni of the Italian Coast Guard told ABC News. The device, along with another recorder that has been found, will be analyzed by prosecutors to determine what happened during the disaster.
While divers searched the ship, the Costa Concordia’s captain Francesco Schettino was in an Italian courtroom which is deciding whether to file criminal charges against him for reckless control of the ship, abandoning his ship and the death of his passengers.
In court, officials played a tape in which a port official could be heard angrily and repeatedly ordering Schettino to return to his ship to supervise the evacuation of passengers. Schettino can be heard making excuses. It’s not certain that he ever returned to his ship.
Tuesday’s grim discovery came four days after the vessel ran aground and searchers were keeping a wary eye on the weather as waves threaten the stability of the ship.
The luxury cruise ship was carrying more than 4,000 passengers and crew when it struck rocks Friday evening near Giglio, off the coast of Tuscany. The Costa line says Schettino was wrong to steer the ship so close to the island.
Genoa-based Costa Cruises, which operates more than a dozen Italian-flagged ships, is controlled by Carnival Corp. of Miami.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Eliza Mackintosh, CNN
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