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Confirmed Death Toll Rises To 15 As Fuel-Pumping OK'd


A platform boat carries stones near the cruise liner "Costa Concordia" as rescue and salvage continued as it lay aground off Giglio Island on January 23.
The bodies of two women have been found by rescuers searching the "Costa Concordia" cruise liner, which ran aground off the Italian coast on January 13. That brings the confirmed death toll from the accident to 15.

At least 19 people are still listed as missing.

Meanwhile, Italy's civil protection agency has given the go-ahead for more than 2,000 tons of fuel inside the stricken "Costa Concordia" cruise ship to be pumped out to avoid environmental damage.

Agency chief Franco Gabrielli said rescue activities could continue at the same time.

Navy divers have blown open access points in the wreck of the cruise ship in their efforts to find possible survivors.

The luxury liner's captain, Francesco Schettino, faces charges of multiple manslaughter in connection with the accident, which happened when the massive ship steered near the coast of Giglio Island and struck rocks.

A lawyer for the captian told journalists on January 23 that prosecutors are considering expanding the investigation to include managers of the ship's owners, Costa Cruises.

compiled from agency reports