The shipwreck of the Costa Concordia claimed another life on Saturday — more than two years after the cruise liner capsized off the coast of Giglio Island, killing 32 people.
The victim, a 40 year old Spanish diver, belonged to the salvage team who is presently working at the project aimed to re-float the cruise liner and tow it away in June.
“The dynamics of the accident is under investigation,” the TITAN Salvage-Micoperi Team said in a statement.
According to local media reports, the diver, Israel Franco Moreno, was trapped under the wreck while working in the delicate operation preceding the installation of 19 buoyancy tanks to the side of the ship.
It appears that Moreno cut his trapped leg in a sheet of metal, bleeding to death.
“We are terribly sorry. Another life adds to the Concordia tragedy,” Giglio mayor Sergio Ortelli said.
“We hope to see the end of all this as soon as possible,” he added.
But lifting the 114,500-tonne vessel from the seabed won’t be an easy task. The “very delicate operation,” as Franco Porcellacchia, the engineer in charge of the salvage, called it, is expected to take seven to ten days.
Adding to the 11 already in place, the 19 tank-like sponsons will be emptied of water and filled with air, providing buoyancy to raise the ship off the platform where it stands now, about 98 feet below the water level.
Porcellacchia said the salvage team will start pumping air into the tanks and water out at the beginning of June. It is not known yet where the ship will be towed to be finally dismantled.
About two-and-a-half times the size of the Titanic, the Concordia struck a rock and capsized on Jan. 13, 2012, after captain Francesco Schettino, on trial for manslaughter, allegedly drove it on an unauthorized route too close to shore, ripping a huge gash in the hull.
The ship has now claimed 33 lives — 32 as it tumbled onto its side with more than 4,200 people aboard two years ago. Among the victims, Indian waiter Russel Rebello is still missing.