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Third survivor rescued from capsized cruise ship

Authorities in Italy are holding the captain of the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship for abandoning the boat before all passengers had escaped. 

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The escape from the luxury liner was straight out of a scene from "Titanic." Many passengers complained the crew didn't give them good directions on how to evacuate and once the emergency became clear, delayed lowering the lifeboats until the ship was listing too heavily for many to be released.

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Several other passengers said crew members told passengers for 45 minutes that there was a simple "technical problem" that had caused the lights to go off.

Passengers said they had never participated in an evacuation drill, although one had been scheduled for Saturday. The cruise began on Jan. 7.

Costa Crociera SpA, which is owned by the US-based cruise giant Carnival Corp., defended the actions of its crew and said it was cooperating with the investigation. Carnival Corp. issued a statement expressing sympathy that didn't address the allegations of delayed evacuation.

Schettino was detained for questioning by prosecutors, investigating him for suspected manslaughter, abandoning ship before all others, and causing a shipwreck, state TV and Sky TV said. Verusio was quoted by the ANSA news agency as saying Schettino deliberately chose a route that was too close to shore.

France said two of the confirmed victims were Frenchmen; a Peruvian diplomat identified the third victim as Tomas Alberto Costilla Mendoza, a crewman from Peru. Some 30 people were injured, at least two seriously.

Some 300 of the crew members were Filipinos and three of them were injured, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said.

Captain: reef unmarked

The captain has insisted that the reef was not marked, but locals said that the stretch of sea is not difficult to maneuver. Anello Fiorentino, captain of a ferry that runs between Giglio and the mainland, said he makes the crossing every day without encountering problems.

"Yes, if you get near the coast there are reefs, but this is a stretch of sea where all the ships can safely pass," he said.

Islanders on Giglio opened up their homes and businesses to accommodate the sudden rush of survivors. Rossana Bafigi, who runs a newsstand, said she was really moved by the reaction of the passengers.

She showed a note left by one Italian family that said, "We want to repay you for the disturbance. Please call us, we took milk and biscuits for the children. Claudia."

Sunday Mass offerings

At Mass on Sunday morning in Giglio's main church, which opened its doors to the evacuees Friday night, altar boys and girls brought up to the altar a life vest, a rope, a rescue helmet, a plastic tarp and some bread.

Don Lorenzo, the parish priest, told the faithful that he wanted to make this admittedly "different" offering to God as a memory of what had transpired.

He said each one carried powerful symbolic meaning for what happened on Friday night: the bread that multiplied to feed the survivors, the rope that pulled people to safety, the life vest and helmet that protected them, and the plastic tarp that kept cold bodies warm. "Our community, our island will never be the same," he told the few dozen islanders gathered for Mass.

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