Underwater footage shows inside doomed Italy cruise ship

AFP
A view of the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship which remains in a bay off the Giglio Island, on June 26, 2014
A view of the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship which remains in a bay off the Giglio Island, on June 26, 2014 (AFP Photo/Filippo Monteforte)

Rome (AFP) - Italian police have released footage of inside the ghostly shell of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, ahead of an operation to float and remove the wreck from the Tuscan island of Giglio.

Eerie underwater images shot by police divers show rotting sofas, the majestic columns of a perfume shop and -- above water -- the ship's blue and green atrium, with painted pictures of majestic sea-side towns and white boats skimming the waves.

A reception area is seen with computers, a wide-screen television screen and a vase of plastic flowers which oddly appear to have survived unscathed as the ship rolled on to its side in a nighttime accident in 2012 and sank, killing 32 people.

Books, pillows and other objects litter the decks ground of the enormous vessel, which was twice the size of the Titanic, and a life jacket chest with the ship's name on it gapes empty.

The ship was hoisted upright from its watery grave in September in the biggest-ever salvage operation of its kind, during which the remains of one of two missing victims were discovered.

Engineers have finished attaching the huge tanks to its sides which will be used to float the wreck, which is expected to be towed away by the end of the month.