|The captain of the luxury ship was detained on manslaughter charges in January [Reuters]
Searchers have found five more bodies in the wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, which had struck a reef off the Italian coast in January, an Italian official has said.
Thursday's discovery, two months after the initial capsizing, raises the number of bodies found to 28. Another two people are presumed dead as their bodies remain missing.
Franco Gabrielli, the civil protection agency head in charge of search and salvage operations, told reporters about the latest body discoveries during a visit to the island of Giglio.
All five bodies, three first and two more later, were discovered to the rear of the vessel, the agency said.
It would likely be several days before the bodies could be removed as it would be a complicated operation using
robots, head of the agency, Franco Gabrielli, told reporters in Giglio after three of the five bodies had been found.
"During activities in preparation for the use of robots to follow up on the possibility that some of the bodies
could be trapped between the hull and the sea bed, we located three new bodies" he said of the initial discovery.
"In the next few days the technicians of the Civil Protection, the fire brigade, the navy and the coast guard will go and prepare everything that is needed to recover of the bodies, for the physical recovery of these bodies, which will allow some families to finally mourn their loved ones," Gabrielli said.
The 114,500-tonne Costa Concordia was on a trip around the Mediterranean when a coast guard official at the time said it "hit an obstacle" near the island of Giglio off the coast of Tuscany. More than 4,000 people were aboard the luxury ship.
The luxury cruise ship - boasting of 58 suites with balconies, five restaurants, 13 bars, five Jacuzzis and four swimming pools - had set off from the Civitavecchia port near Rome earlier.
The ship's owner, Costa Cruises, said salvagers would complete operations to pump more than 2,300 tonnes of fuel
out of the capsized vessel on Friday, removing the threat of an oil spill in the surrounding marine reserve.
The captain of the ship, Francesco Schettino, was detained under charges of manslaughter.