3 dead after cruise ship runs aground off Italy, 4,000 evacuated
The luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia leans after it ran aground off the coast of Isola del Giglio island, Italy, gashing open the hull and forcing some 4,200 people aboard to evacuate aboard lifeboats to the nearby Isola del Giglio island, early Saturday, Jan 14, 2012. -- PHOTO: AP
ROME (REUTERS) - At least three people were killed and rescuers were looking for other victims on Saturday after a large Italian cruise ship carrying more than 4,000 people ran aground overnight, took on water and tipped over.
A dramatic nighttime rescue operation involving lifeboats, ships and helicopters was continuing hours after the 114,500 gross tonnes Costa Concordia hit a sandbar near the island of Giglio as passengers were eating dinner.
'We were sitting down do dinner and we heard this big bang. I think it hit some rocks. There was a lot of panic, the tables overturned, glasses were flying all over the place and we ran for the decks where we put on our life vests,' passenger Maria Parmegiano Alfonsi told Sky Italia television.
The 290m-long ship took on water and started listing.