Six people are now confirmed killed afer a major accident involving the cruise ship Costa Concordia.
Thousands were evacuated from the luxury cruise ship after it ran aground and began to sink off the coast of Italy on Friday. Several passengers are still unaccounted for.
Passengers from France, Italy, Germany and Britain were forced to abandon the Costa Concordia in lifeboats when it hit a reef less than two hours after leaving port.
Reports say that some passengers leapt overboard and swam to shore as the ship started to sink into the waters near the Italian island of Giglio, off the Tuscan coast.
Passengers’ dinner on Friday evening was interrupted by a loud boom at around 8.00pm and a voice over the loud-speaker system initially announced that the ship was suffering an electrical failure, before ordering everyone on-board to put on their life-jackets.
Update: 16 people are still unaccounted for. (16th January 2012)
The ship sailed from Rome on Friday but the emergency drill was not scheduled until 5pm on Saturday. Therefore none of the passengers had received instruction on what to do in an emergency. There are reports of widespread panic.