Diver dies during work to remove ‘Concordia’

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A DIVER died while working on the shipwrecked Costa Concordia, apparently gashing his leg on an underwater metal sheet while preparing the wreck for removal, officials and news reports said.

Italy’s civil protection agency, which is overseeing the removal of the Concordia from Tuscany’s coast, said the diver was from Spain.

Tuscany’s La Nazione newspaper said the diver had been working on preparations to affix huge tanks on to sides of the Concordia to float the ship off its false seabed and tow it to a port for eventual dismantling.

It said he apparently gashed his leg on an underwater metal sheet and was then unable to get free, bleeding profusely before a diver colleague was able to bring him to the surface. The report said he was conscious upon surfacing but died later.

The diver, who wasn’t identified by authorities, is the first to die in the line of work on salvaging the Concordia ever since it slammed into a reef off Giglio island on January 13, 2012, killing 32 passengers and crew. A diver died last year, but the causes were reportedly unrelated to the work.

In a statement, the head of the civil protection agency, Franco Gabrielli, expressed condolences for the death and recalled the dedication of people working on the wreckage, saying they had worked “for two years without a break, in difficult conditions.