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3 dead as Italian cruise ship runs aground

Three people were killed and thousands evacuated from a luxury cruise ship on Friday after it ran aground and began to sink off the coast of Italy. Holidaymakers from France, Italy, Germ

Published: 14th January 2012 04:45 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:14 PM   |  A+A-

Three people were killed and thousands evacuated from a luxury cruise ship on Friday after it ran aground and began to sink off the coast of Italy.

Holidaymakers from France, Italy, Germany and Britain were forced to flee the 1,500-cabin Costa Concordia in lifeboats when it hit a reef less than two hours after leaving port.

Some leapt overboard and swam to shore as the ship started to sink into the waters near the island of Giglio, off the Tuscan coast. Captain Luciano Nicastro, the coast guard, and police official Giuseppe Lunardi said three people were confirmed dead, fewer than the six reported earlier by Italian media.

Pregnant women and young children were among the 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew on board. Passengers' dinner on Friday night was interrupted by a loud boom at around 8pm and a voice over the loud-speaker system initially claimed that the ship was suffering an electrical failure, before ordering everyone on-board to don life-jackets.

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