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Costa Concordia

Watch: Footage shows nighttime Costa Concordia evacuation

Meanwhile, the cruise operator is looking into new claims that the ship had passed closer to Giglio island last summer.

HOPES OF FINDING any more survivors of the Costa Concordia disaster are fading and the salvage operation could begin today.

Italian naval divers found five bodies on board the ship yesterday after blasting holes in the hull for better access to the submerged parts of the ship, bringing the death toll to 11. Another 24 people remain unaccounted for.

The ship’s captain Francesco Schettino was last night released from jail and is being held under house arrest. He is accused of manslaughter and of abandoning ship before the evacuation was complete.

Yesterday, a recording of a call between Schettino and an Italian port authority Gregorio De Falco showed De Falco repeatedly ordering Schettino to turn his lifeboat around and return to the ship. Schettino said he was organising the evacuation, but De Falco said he should do that from on board the listing ship.

He ordered him to get back onto the Costa Concordia, from which people were still evacuating, and to tell him how many people were on board and what kind of assistance they needed to get off. At the end of the call, Schettino agrees to go back to the ship.

The BBC reports that the salvage operation could get underway today, while also reporting that the Costa Concordia took a similar route in August, when it apparently passed closer to Giglio island that it did when it struck rocks on Friday – and that the route was authorised then.

The cruise operator has accused Schettino of following an unauthorised route close to the island and is looking into the new claims that the ship had previously followed a similar path.

The Italian Coast Guard has released infared footage of the stricken vessel which shows people lining up waiting to evacuate:

(Video via fredgrauf1)

Meanwhile, other footage released by the Italian authority shows the rescue operation underway – and shows how dark it was for those involved:

(Video via onti7261)

In pictures: the capsized Costa Concordia >

As cruise ships get bigger, are they getting safer? >

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