Costa Concordia "black box" found

GIGLIO, Italy -- Police divers have recovered what they describe as a hard drive and two cameras from the bridge of the Costa Concordia.

Authotirites hope that will give them more information about exactly what happened the night of the accident a week ago, when the luxury ocean liner ran aground and capsized.

The search effort will concentrate on the ship's fifth level, where passengers would have gathered to go to life rafts, considered to be the most likely place to find the bodies still trapped in the wreck.

Demolition experts blasted several holes in the hull of the ship this morning to make access to the interior easier.

The biggest fear is that the ship will slip off the rock ledge it's resting on. Any movement forces a halt to the search efforts.

Sixteen sensors have been placed on the wreck, linked to a complex array of instruments normally used to monitor landslides and earthquakes.

The captain who brought the massive cruise liner onto the rocks after hitting a well-charted reef has been disavowed by his employers. Costa Cruises has said it won't pay the captain's legal fees to fight charges of multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship because, the cruise line says, his description of what was happening did not correspondent to the truth.

A class-action lawsuit is being launched on behalf of the 120 Americans who were on board, and will ask for $160,000 per passenger, more than ten times the amount they're entitled to once they had to abandon ship.

As soon as the searching ends, the effort to remove 500,000 gallons of fuel from the ship, before it can cause an ecological disaster, will begin. As much as they want to get that oil off, authorities say the priority remains recovering the missing bodies.

The search for those bodies resumed this morning when sensors detected the ship had stopped shifting positions.

  • Allen Pizzey

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