Stricken Italian liner shifts, 29 people missing

By REUTERS
January 17, 2012 07:13

 
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GIGLIO, Italy - A stricken Italian cruise liner shifted on its rocky resting place as worsening weather disrupted an increasingly despairing hunt for survivors and authorities almost doubled their estimate of the number missing to 29 people.

As the Costa Concordia's owners accused their captain of veering too close to shore in a bravura "salute" to residents of a Tuscan island, the giant ship slid a little on Monday, threatening to plunge 2,300 tons of fuel below the Mediterranean waters of the surrounding nature reserve.

The slippage forced rescuers to suspend efforts to find anyone still alive after three days in the capsized hull, resting on a jagged slope outside the picturesque harbour on the island of Giglio. Six bodies have been found. Most of the 4,200 passengers and crew survived, despite hours of chaos.

Captain Francesco Schettino was arrested a day after the disaster accused of manslaughter and abandoning the ship before all of the people were evacuated. Prosecutors say he also refused to go back on board when requested by the coastguard. Schettino was due to appear before magistrates for questioning on Tuesday morning.

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