LONDON, UK – A team searching the half-submerged wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise liner off the Italian coast has found five more bodies, the head of Italy’s Civil Protection agency said Thursday, bringing the number of bodies recovered to 30.
Franco Gabrielli, who is in charge of search and salvage operations, did not disclose details of the sex or ages of the victims, the Associated Press reports. The bodies were reportedly found in a small space outside the ship, between the wreck and the seabed.
More from GlobalPost: Italy, bravado and the Costa Concordia
Officials say 32 people were killed when the Costa Concordia, with more than 4,000 passengers and crew aboard, struck rocks and keeled over onto its side as it carried out a traditional salute to islands on Giglio, off the Tuscan coast, on January 13.
Two people remain missing and are presumed dead. The liner’s captain, Francesco Schettino, is currently under house arrest while he is investigated for alleged manslaughter, shipwreck and abandoning ship. He denies the charges.
Schettino’s first officer, Ciro Ambrosio, and two other crew members have also been placed under formal investigation, as have three officials from the boat’s owners, Costa Cruises, according to Sky News.
More from GlobalPost: Italy shipwreck captain Francesco Schettino must remain under house arrest, says court
Savage experts say they are nearly finished the operation of emptying the ship’s 17 tanks of oil, and will stop on Friday night.
According to the BBC, the next stage of the salvage process will involve cleaning up the seabed and the area around the Costa Concordia’s hull before efforts to lift the wreck commence. Removing the ship is expected to take up to a year.
More from GlobalPost: Chinese cars, made in Bulgaria