ROME (AP) — The Italian news agency ANSA says a luxury cruise ship with 4,200 people aboard has run aground off the Tuscan coast and that at least 6 people have died.
The report early Saturday said the Costa Concordia ran aground a few hundred meters (yards) off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, and that the passengers were being evacuated.
A statement from Costa Cruises, the company that runs the ship, confirmed that the evacuation of the 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew had begun, "but the position of the ship which is worsening is making more difficult the last part of the evacuation."
Costa Cruises' statement did not mention any casualties, and said it had not yet determined the cause of the problem.
ANSA news agency quoted unidentified rescuers as saying six people were dead. ANSA quoted journalists who happened to be passengers aboard as telling ANSA that the evacuees were being sheltered in schools, hotels and a church on the vacation island.
Costa Cruises said the Costa Concordia was sailing on a cruise across the Mediterranean Sea, starting from Civitavecchia with scheduled calls to Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Cagliari and Palermo.
It said about 1,000 Italian passengers were onboard, as well as more than 500 Germans, about 160 French and about 1,000 crew members.