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Video: Woman's body found after risky ship search

DIVERS have found a woman's body in a submerged section of the grounded Costa Concordia, raising the death toll in the cruise liner tragedy to at least 12.

Italian coast guard commander Cosimo Nicastro said the body, wearing a life jacket, was found in a narrow corridor near an evacuation staging point at the rear of the ship.

The body was taken to Giglio, the Tuscan island where the vessel hit a reef and ran aground on January 14.

Twenty people are still missing.

Mr Nicastro said the woman's body was found during a particularly risky search.

"The corridor was very narrow, and the divers' lines risked snagging" on objects in the passageway, he said.

To help the coast guard divers get into the area, Italian navy divers had preceded them, setting off charges to blast holes for easier entrance and exit, he added.

The woman's nationality and identity were not immediately known.

Yesterday, light fuel, apparently from machinery on board the Costa Concordia, was detected near the ship.

But Mr Nicastro said there was no indication that any of the nearly 500,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil has leaked from the ship's double-bottomed tanks.

He said the leaked substance appears to be diesel, which is used to fuel rescue boats and dinghies and as a lubricant for ship machinery.

There are 185 tons of diesel and lubricants on board the crippled vessel, which is lying on its side just outside Giglio's port.

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Mr Nicastro described the fuel's presence in the sea as "very light" and appearing to be under control.

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