Some on cruise ship may be unregistered

A view of the stricken luxury liner Costa Concordia off the Isola del Giglio on January 22, 2012. FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images

GIGLIO, Italy — Unregistered passengers might have been aboard the stricken cruise liner that capsized off this Tuscan island, a top rescue official said Sunday, raising the possibility that the number of missing might be higher than previously announced.

Divers, meanwhile, pulled out a woman's body from the capsized Costa Concordia on Sunday, raising to 13 the number of people dead in the Jan. 13 accident.

Civil protection official Francesca Maffini told reporters the victim was wearing a life vest and was found in the rear of a submerged portion of a ship by a team of fire department divers. The unidentified body was being removed from the ship.

Earlier, Italian authorities raised the possibility that the real number of the missing was unknown because some unregistered passengers might have been aboard. As of Sunday, 19 people are listed as missing, but that number could be higher.

"There could have been X persons who we don't know about who were inside, who were clandestine" passengers aboard the ship, Franco Gabrielli, the national civil protection official in charge of the rescue effort, told reporters at a briefing on the island of Giglio, where the ship, with 4,200 people aboard rammed a reef and sliced open its hull on Jan. 13 before turning over on its side.

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Gabrielli said that relatives of a Hungarian woman have told Italian authorities that she had telephoned them from aboard the ship and that they haven't heard from her since the accident. He said it was possible that a woman's body pulled from the wreckage by divers on Saturday might be that of the unregistered passenger.

Authorities are trying to identify five corpses who are badly decomposed after spending a long time in the water.

Gabrielli said they have identified the other eight bodies: four French, an Italian, a Hungarian, a German and a Spanish national.

The missing include French passengers, an elderly American couple, a Peruvian crewwoman and an Indian crewman and an Italian father and his five-year-old daughter. Some of their relatives were briefed by rescuers Sunday, and also met with Pierluigi Foschi, the the CEO of Costa Crociere, SpA — the ship's operator — who viewed the crippled cruise liner from a boat.

France's ambassador to Italy, Alain Le Roy, recounted Foschi's visit.

"He came to see the families, all families. He met the French family. He met the American family. I am sure he is meeting other families, mostly to express his compassion .... to say that Costa will do everything possible to find the people, to compensate families in any way."

The search had been halted for several hours early Sunday, after instrument readings indicated that the Concordia has shifted a bit on its precarious perch on a seabed just outside Giglio's port. A few yards away, the sea bottom drops off suddenly, by some 65-100 feet, and if the Concordia should abruptly roll off its ledge, rescuers could be trapped inside.

When instrument data indicated the vessel had stabilized again, rescuers went back in, but only explored the above-water section and evacuation staging areas where survivors have indicated that people who did not make it into lifeboats during the chaotic evacuation could have remained.

Passengers were dining at a gala supper when the Concordia sailed close to Giglio and struck the reef, which is indicated on maritime and even tourist maps.

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