At least six people died when an Italian cruise ship with more than 4,000 people on board ran aground off the Tuscan coast late on Friday and started taking on water, the ANSA news agency reported on Saturday, quoting local authorities.
The 290-metre-long, 1,500-cabin Costa Concordia liner hit a reef near the Giglio island at around 8 pm local time (19:00 GMT), after which the ship tilted heavily to one side.
Most of the 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members had been evacuated, but some 200 people were still on board as of 02:30 GMT, local media reports said.
“We were dining when the lights went out,” one of the passengers told Ansa. “We heard a bang and a roar, and dishes crashed to the floor.”
It was first reported that the ship suffered an electrical failure, but soon afterwards, everyone was ordered to wear life-jackets, media reports quoted witnesses as saying.
Some passengers leapt overboard and swam to shore as the liner, stranded several hundred meters away from the shore, started to sink.
The Costa Crociera company, which owns the vessel, said that it was not yet possible to establish the causes of the accident.