ROME - At least six people were killed when a large Italian cruise ship carrying more than 4,000 people ran aground on a sandbar off the west coast of Italy on Friday night, media sources said.
The some 3,200 passengers and 1,023 crew on board the ship, the 290-metre-long Costa Concordia, were being evacuated by lifeboats, helicopters and other ships in the area, a statement from the Italian coastguard said.
They were taken to the tiny island of Giglio and put up in schools, homes and churches for the night. The ship ran aground at about 10:00 p.m. (2100 GNT) near Giglio off the Tuscan coast.
The Italian news agency Ansa quoted rescue workers as saying at least six people were killed and a number injured, but that the cause of the deaths was not immediately known. Ansa said some people had jumped into the water.
About five hours after the incident, several hundred people were still on board the ship and waiting to be evacuated.