In their 10:03 AM report, 69 people were unaccounted for. "By morning Saturday, the ship was lying virtually flat off Gigio's coast, its starboard side submerged in the water and the huge gash showing clearly on its upturned hull."
By 6:51 this evening, CBS had some updated statistics: "At least three bodies had been recovered, and rescuers searching for the missing heard the shouts of a man and a woman coming late Saturday from the wrecked cruise ship. The Coast guard was bringing in a specialized search team to find them, while close to 40 others remained unaccounted for."
Captain Francesco Schettino has been detained while his attorney claims his client performed his job admirably. 'Bruno Leporatti told the agency: "I'd like to say that several hundred people owed their life to the expertise that the commander of the Costa Concordia showed during the emergency."'
Miami-based Carnival Corp. issued a brief statement Saturday. "Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the grounding of the Costa Concordia and especially the loved ones of those who lost their lives. They will remain in our thoughts and prayers in the wake of this tragic event."
Though details of the event seems somewhat unclear until a complete investigation is completed, 'Coast guard Cmdr. Francesco Paolillo said "...the vessel "hit an obstacle," that tore a 50-meter (160 feet) gash in the side of the ship and started taking on water...It wasn't clear if the obstacle was a jagged, rocky reef or something else," he said. "The captain...then tried to steer his ship toward shallow waters, near Giglio's small port, to make evacuation by lifeboat easier."
According to this article, "Five helicopters from the coast guard, navy and air force took turns airlifting survivors still aboard and ferrying them to safety."
ABS News interviews a passenger who recalls her panic and fear.
If the captain did purposefully steer the ship closer to shore after recognizing the impending disaster, he may be truly responsible for saving thousands of lives!
I am sure there are a few persons counting their lucky stars as they put their heads to a pillow tonight.