A Costa Concordia diver has bled to death after injuring his leg underwater while attempting to salvage part of the shipwrecked cruise ship on Saturday, raising the death toll connected with the shipwreck to 33.
Israel Franco Moreno, a 40-year-old diver from Spain, reportedly suffered a gash to his leg from an underwater metal sheet that he was preparing to remove from the wreck, according to local officials.
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Unable to free himself from an entanglement, Moreno subsequently bled to death underwater before another diver could get him free and back to the surface. The diver was apparently still conscious when he got to the surface, however he died shortly after, according to local media reports.
The Tuscan newspaper Lanazione reported that Moreno had been working on preparations to affix huge tanks onto sides of the Concordia to float the ship off its false seabed and tow it to a port for eventual dismantling, the Associated Press reported
Moreno became the first to die in the line of work while salvaging the Costa Concordia. Last year another diver died, however his death was reportedly not connected to the actual salvage effort.
Moreno was part of a skilled 500-member crew of engineers and divers who since September have been working on the final phases of recovery before the 950-foot, 114,000-ton Costa Concordia could be raised from the seabed.
The $810 million removal project, called the Parbuckling Project
, has already run nearly twice its original cost estimates and is the most ambitious ever attempted for a ship the size of the Concordia.
Jan. 13, 2012, the Costa Concordia slammed into a reef and capsized after the ship’s captain steered it too close to the island of Giglio. Thirty-two people died and two remain missing as a result of the crash.
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Last July, four Costa Concordia crew members and a company official were convicted
and sentenced to jail time in Italy that ranged between 18 and 34 months, after pleading guilty to multiple manslaughter, negligence and shipwreck charges.
The ship's captain, Francesco Schettino, remains on trial for manslaughter.
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