Italian authorities are trying to find out why a luxury cruise liner - the largest ever built in Italy at the time she entered service - capsized off the Tuscan shore. Pictures showed a 160-foot gash in her hull.
CBS News transportation safety analyst Mark Rosenker said an accident like this is extremely rare.
"These are extremely well-built vessels, particularly these new vessels with new technologies," said Rosenker.
Built in Genoa at the Italian Fincantieri shipyards, the Costa Concordia was christened in 2006. The ship was 952 feet long with a gross tonnage of 112,000. Total passenger capacity was 3,780. Her maximum speed was 23.2 knots.
The ship contained 1,500 staterooms, 5 restaurants, 13 bars, four swimming pools, and one of the largest spas at sea.
This was not the first accident involving the Costa Condordia, however. On November 22, 2008, the ship was pushed along the dock by high winds at Palermo in Sicily, causing damage to her bow. No injuries were reported.
Rosenker said one of the first priorities for investigators will be to examine the ship's "black box" voice recorder. ,/P>
"It actually would have recorded the voices of the people - the officers and crew that were on the bridge - and you'll be able to hear their discussion about what happened, and the decisions that they made after the vessel struck the rocks.
"The investigation will really delve into the captain's thinking, and the timing in which he made decisions, both into communicating what was going on to the passengers, ordering them to go back to their cabins to get their life preservers, and then to the final decision where you would evacuate the ship," Rosenker said.