UK & World News
Diver Dies On Costa Concordia Salvage
A diver has died while working on the shipwrecked Costa Concordia after apparently gashing his leg on an underwater metal sheet.
Italy's civil protection agency, which is leading the removal of the Concordia from the Tuscan coast, said the diver was Spanish.
It was widely reported in Spain and Italy that he was Israel Franco Moreno, of La Coruna, and in his 40s.
Tuscany's La Nazione newspaper said the diver had been working on preparations to attach huge tanks on to sides of the Concordia, to float the ship off its false seabed and tow it to a port for eventual dismantling.
The newspaper reported he gashed his leg on an underwater metal sheet and was then unable to get free.
It said he bled heavily before a diver colleague was able to bring him to the surface. He was reportedly conscious upon surfacing but later died.
He is the first diver to die in the line of work on salvaging the Concordia ever since it slammed into a reef off Giglio island in January 2012, killing 32 passengers and crew.
In a statement, the head of the civil protection agency, Franco Gabrielli, expressed condolences for the death and recalled the dedication of people working on the wreckage, saying they had worked "for two years without a break, in difficult conditions not without risks, to achieve the common goal of removing the Concordia from Giglio.
The Concordia was righted in preparation for removal during a 19-hour engineering feat last autumn, in which a system of pulleys wrenched the 300-metre-long (1,000-foot-long), 115,000-ton cruise ship from its side to vertical.
A dozen giant tanks were affixed to its exposed port side and filled with water to help pull the ship upright.
The current project that the diver was working on was to prepare the starboard side, which had been underwater until the ship was righted, to hold a similar number of tanks.
Francesco Schettino, the ship's captain currently on trial for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and leaving the ship before all passengers were evacuated.