Search resumes for those missing on Costa Concordia
REPORTING FROM ROME –- Scuba divers and other specialists Thursday resumed search operations on the overturned Costa Concordia, at this point trying to find bodies of about 22 people still missing and probably trapped when the cruise ship wrecked Friday.
Efforts to penetrate even deeper into the partially submerged vessel had been suspended Wednesday when sensors showed that the ship, resting on a rock bed off the coast of the Italian Island of Giglio, had shifted position by about a yard. Environmental Minister Corrado Clini warned that there was serious danger the ship could slip off its perch and down a drop-off of about 230 to 260 feet to the sea floor.
Fuel-recovery experts from the Dutch company Smit Salvage were preparing Thursday to begin operations to retrieve more than 2,300 tons of fuel inside several cisterns.
As the search continued, the ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, was being held under house arrest at his home in Meta di Sorrento, south of Naples.
Prosecutors are alleging that he recklessly brought the 1,000-foot-long vessel too close to the shore of the Tuscan island. When the ship hit a rock and suffered immediate damage, he waited more than an hour to declare an emergency and begin evacuation procedures, and then left the ship before all passengers were safely rescued, they said.
A recording between the captain, sitting in a lifeboat while passengers still desperately sought to escape the listing ship, and an angry coast guard officer ordering him back on board has been replayed in media around the world.
A judge who interrogated Schettino said the captain acted "recklessly and negligently" and that he had simply watched the surrounding chaos from the lifeboat.
Results from toxicology tests to determine whether he was under the influence of drugs were expected later Thursday.
-- Sarah Delaney
Photo: Relatives and friends of victims of the stricken cruise ship Costa Concordia are escorted by police Thursday to a church on the Italian island of Giglio. Credit: Tullio M. Puglia / Getty Images