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Italians shocked by cruise liner mishap as death toll rises to 5

By Marzia De Giuli (Xinhua)

16:50, January 16, 2012

A cruise ship that ran aground is seen off the west coast of Italy at Giglio island January 14, 2012. The number of victims in the Italian cruise liner sinking increased to five on Sunday, while the country was shocked as particulars emerged on the absurd dynamics of the tragedy. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

ROME, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- The number of victims in the Italian cruise liner sinking increased to five on Sunday, while the country was shocked as particulars emerged on the absurd dynamics of the tragedy.

The 290-meter-long Costa Concordia vessel, with more than 4,200 people from about 60 countries and regions on broad, on Friday night hit a reef and tore a 70-meter crack in its hull, which left it half submerged in shallow waters near the Giglio island, a resort 25 km off Italy's western coast.

On Sunday afternoon, coast guard divers searching the submerged part of the vessel found the bodies of two elderly men, an Italian and a Spanish, still in their life jackets, which raised to five the death toll, local reports said.

Two French tourists and a Peruvian crew member had been found dead on Saturday.

The country exulted for a moment when the hotel director of the ship, 57-year-old Marrico Giampetroni, was unexpectedly rescued from the vessel 36 hours after the accident occurred, as divers heard his voice while they were searching probing the dark.

"I experienced a 36-hour nightmare, but I had always hoped I would be saved," said the survivor, who got cracking at rescuing other passengers until he remained trapped in the ship, according to ANSA news agency.

In the early morning on Sunday, two other people, a young couple of South Koreans on their honeymoon, were found in good conditions in a cabin inside the liner.

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