Cruise Ship Wreck: Five More Bodies Found

Ship Capt. Francesco Schettino placed under house arrest.

ByABC News
January 17, 2012, 5:49 AM

Jan. 17, 2012— -- Divers searching the capsized cruise ship found five more bodies today, bringing to 11 the death toll in the catastrophe off Italy's Tuscan coast.

The victims were found at the stern of the ship under water after search-and-rescue divers blasted holes in the hull of the ship to access the lower decks.

Before the bodies were discovered authorities had said that 29 people were missing, including Jerry and Barbara Heil of Minnesota. Also among the missing was a 5-year-old girl. The victims recovered today were not immediately identified.

Operations are now in motion to retrieve a second black-box recorder that has been located in the wreckage, Warrant Petty Officer Massimo Macaroni of the Italian Coast Guard told ABC News. The device, along with another recorder that has been found, will be analyzed by prosecutors to determined what happened during the disaster.

While divers searched the ship, the Costa Concordia's captain Francesco Schettino was in an Italian courtroom which is deciding whether to file criminal charges against him for reckless control of the ship, abandoning his ship and the death of his passengers.

PHOTOS: Inside the Costa Concordia Cruise Ship Tragedy

In court officials played a tape in which a port official could be heard angrily and repeatedly ordering Schettino to return to his ship to supervise the evacuation of passengers. Schettino can be heard making excuses. It's not certain that he ever returned to his ship.

The court later decided to release Schettino from jail, but put him under house arrest.

Today's grim discovery came four days after the vessel ran aground and searchers were keeping a wary eye on the weather as waves threaten the stability of the ship. It moved slightly on Monday and another 3.5 inches today.

The rescue divers say they can hear the screech of steel every time the 114,000-ton vessel shifts around them.

Rescue efforts had been halted for about three hours Monday because the huge vessel sits on a 120-foot ledge and had shifted slightly as the water got rough. Officials feared the ship could be pushed off the ledge into water that is 224 feet deep.

PHOTOS: Cruise Ship Runs Aground Off Italy

The luxury cruise ship was carrying more than 4,000 passengers and crew when it struck rocks Friday evening near Giglio, off the coast of Tuscany. The Costa line says Schettino was wrong to steer the ship so close to the island.

Genoa-based Costa Cruises, which operates more than a dozen Italian-flagged ships, is controlled by Carnival Corp. of Miami.

Adding pressure is the fear of an ecological impact, as concerns grow that the 500,000 gallons of fuel on the ship could seep into the ocean. Rescue boats are deploying boom -- a temporary floating barrier used to contain a spill -- around the vessel.