06:37 GMT +316 December 2017
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    Death toll from cruise ship accident off Italy rises to 8

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    Eight people died in the early hours of Saturday after a cruise ship ran aground off the Italian coast, media reports said.

    Eight people died in the early hours of Saturday after a cruise ship ran aground off the Italian coast, media reports said.

    The 290-meter-long, 1,500-cabin Costa Concordia liner was on a trip around the Mediterranean when it 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.

    There were Italians, Germans, French and British among the 3,200 passengers.

    Most of the passengers and 1,000 crew members have been evacuated, but around 200 people were still on board around 02:30 GMT, according to the prefect of the nearby city of Grosseto, Giuseppe Linardi.

    Helicopters with spotlights are used to help rescuers.

    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.

    One of the victims was a man in his 70s who died of a heart attack caused by the shock to his system when he jumped into the icy waters, reports said.

    The Costa Crociera company, which owns the vessel, said that it was not yet possible to establish the causes of the accident.

     

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