Citing safety concerns, Italian officials said they were calling off the search for those still missing at the site of the Costa Concordia shipwreck.
The AP reports:
"Italy's Civil Protection agency said Tuesday that technical studies indicated that the deformed hull of the ship created too many safety concerns to continue the search. It said in a statement that relatives and diplomatic officials representing the countries of the missing have been informed of the decision.
"The Concordia ran aground off the island of Giglio on Jan. 13 when the captain deviated from his planned route and struck a reef, creating a huge gash that capsized the ship."
So far, 17 bodies have been recovered and 16 passengers are still reported missing.
The AFP reports that authorities had contacted the families to explain the decision. Rescue crews will continue to search the part of the ship that is above water and will check for bodies on the sea floor.
Yesterday, NBC News reported that the removing the ship from the waters off Italian island of Giglio could take up to a year.