Divers find more 'Concordia' bodies
Salvage workers have found eight more bodies in the submerged Costa Concordia cruise liner, bringing the confirmed number of dead to 25.
Italian prosecutors placed four ship's officers and three company executives under investigation on today in connection with the disaster as the bodies, among them a 5-year-old girl, were discovered.
The officers and executives from Costa Cruises, the stricken vessel's operator, join the ship's captain Francesco Schettino and first officer Ciro Ambrosio who are being formally investigated.
A spokesman for the company would not identify the new group of defendants.
The ship ran aground and capsized off the Italian coast last month but bad weather had prevented divers from recovering more bodies from the ship's submerged deck.until now.
A further seven people remain missing, authorities said.
The Costa Concordia, a huge floating resort carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew, foundered off the Tuscan coast on January 13th after a rock tore a gash in its side, letting water flood into the engine rooms and causing the vessel to capsize.
Mr Schettino has been blamed for the crash, which occurred when he took the ship close to the shore of the island of Giglio to perform a display manoeuvre known as a "salute".
He faces charges of multiple manslaughter, causing an accident and abandoning ship before the evacuation of all of those on board was complete. A pre-trial hearing is due to begin on March 3rd.
Salvage crews are still working on pumping almost 2,400 tonnes of diesel fuel from the vast hulk, which lies partially submerged just metres from the shore of Giglio, a popular holiday island in a maritime reserve off the Tuscan coast.
There had been fears that oil could leak from the wreck, causing an environmental disaster.