Costa Concordia floats again, search for body begins

Giglio, Italy - The mangled cruise ship Costa Concordia is floating again with some hi-tech help, more than two years after the ship ran aground killing 32 people.

All of the bodies have been recovered, except one. Officials say their search for the missing Indian waiter will continue with great care as the vessel is refloated.

It's the biggest salvage operation ever attempted, and one of the most risky. The ship has been sitting upright on an underwater steel platform since last September. Before that she had been lying on her side where she'd been grounded after hitting a rock while passing too close to the Italian island of Giglio, and where 32-people died on the night of the accident.

It took an unprecedented operation, what the salvagers call a parbuckling, to roll the ship over into a position where she can be refloated. But the engineering required to do that is impressive as well.

An array of metal flotation chambers, thirty of them, have been attached along the sides of the ship. They're full of water now but are being pumped out so they can act as giant water wings and lift the Concordia.

But it's never a simple as it sounds. The scale of the project is huge.
The flotation chambers are the size of buildings.

Nick Sloane is the directing the operation, "a lot of heavy lifts in a short time' and only when the ship starts to life will the engineers be sure she still has the structural integrity to hold together under the strain," said Sloane.

The plan is to tow the ship to Genoa, in Northern Italy, where she'll be broken up for scrap. But even that is a risky operation, and there's still a good week's work here before they get to that point.


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