Search Suspended After Stricken Italian Cruise Ship Moves

With bitterly cold temperatures and frigid waters, the chances of finding more survivors appeared to dim Wednesday as at least two dozen people remain missing from a doomed Italian cruise ship.

A view of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground off the west coast of Italy, at Giglio island, January 18, 2012. Italian divers suspended their search of the capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia after the vessel shifted slightly on its resting place near the Tuscan island of Giglio, officials said on Wednesday.

With bitterly cold temperatures and frigid waters, the chances of finding more survivors appeared to dim Wednesday as at least two dozen people remain missing from a doomed Italian cruise ship.

At least 11 people have died since the Costa Concordia ran aground and capsized last week off a Tuscan island.

Rescue crews suspended operations Wednesday morning as the ship began to move, the Italian Coast Guard said. The search for survivors has been halted and restarted several times since the ship rolled onto its side Friday night.

Rescuers are planning to blast more holes in the ship Wednesday to allow divers easier access to the interior of the ship.

But experts say chances of finding survivors are slim.

"I think you have to look at several issues. One is just the hypothermia. If a compartment is flooded, even if there was air, at this point, most of them would have succumbed to the hypothermic problem of the water temperature," said Butch Hendrick, president of the diving safety company Lifeguard Systems.

When asked if rescuers would find any survivors, Hendrick said, "I'm sorry to say this, but I don't... I don't believe there are. I'm sorry."

Questions remain over what happened in the waters around the island of Giglio, and especially the actions of Capt. Francesco Schettino.

Schettino, who may be charged with manslaughter, shipwreck and abandoning ship, was transferred to house arrest overnight, his lawyer Bruno Leporatti said early Wednesday.

Prosecutor Fransceso Vesuvio said the decision to let Schettino out of jail left him "speechless."

But Judge Valeria Montesarchio justified the decision on the grounds that the captain was not a flight risk and there was no danger of his interfering with evidence or committing the crime again.

Schettino was arrested after leaving the ship while dozens were still aboard, panicked and fighting for lifeboats.

"I am absolutely shocked. Shocked at his behavior," said passenger Alex Beach of New Mexico, who escaped the crippled cruise ship with her husband. "As a passenger that was relying on him and the rest of his upper officers to steer this ship, it's quite alarming."

The shipping industry newspaper Lloyd's List reported that Friday was not the first time the Costa Concordia steamed extremely close to shore near Giglio.

Satellite tracking data obtained by the paper shows that the ship passed within 230 meters (251.5 yards) of the coast of the island at least once before -- even closer than the location where the Costa Concordia hit the rocks this weekend.

The pass happened on August 14, 2011, Lloyd's List reported.

In transcripts of conversations between Schettino and the Italian coast guard, published by the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera, the captain gives conflicting accounts of what happened when the ship hit rocks Friday night just off Italy's western coast, leading to what passengers described as a chaotic and surreal scene as they rushed to evacuate.

At first, Schettino tells an official he had abandoned the vessel, according to the transcripts, which prosecutors say match those used in their investigation.

But as the official questions his decision, Schettino appears to reverse himself and say he had not abandoned ship but was "catapulted into the water" after the ship ran into a rock, began taking on water and started listing.

In a later conversation, an Italian coast guard official demands Schettino return to his ship, the transcripts show.

"You get on board! This is an order!" the coast guard official instructed Schettino.

"You have declared 'Abandon ship.' Now I'm in charge. You get on board -- is that clear?" the port official said.

Rescuers found five bodies Tuesday but it was unclear how many people are missing. There were roughly 4,200 people on the Costa Concordia when it ran aground -- about 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew members, the vast majority of whom made it off the ship safely.

Before the discovery of the five bodies Tuesday, authorities had said 29 people were missing; 14 Germans, six Italians, four French citizens, two Americans, and one each from Hungary, India and Peru. There was some confusion Tuesday on the number of missing Germans, according to the German Foreign Ministry.

One person on the list of missing was found dead Monday, but authorities have not specified the nationality.

A friend of two missing Americans, Gerald and Barbara Ann Heil of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, said their family is "holding up very well" despite the agonizing wait for word from Italy, where the retired couple had gone for "their trip of a lifetime" after raising four children and working in their community for years.

St. Pius X Catholic Church will hold a Wednesday evening prayer service for the couple, according to CNN affiliate KARE. The Heils were on a 16-day vacation to Italy, with a planned visit to the Vatican.

Divers are searching the skyscraper-sized ship, working underwater in pitch darkness. Italy's Coast Guard said it has located a second "black box," or data recorder, from the ship. Operations are under way to retrieve the recorder, said Coast Guard Warrant Petty Officer Massimo Macaroni.

Information from the device, along with another recorder that has been recovered and is being analyzed by prosecutors, will provide authorities with "a complete picture of how the disaster unfolded," Macaroni said.

Those who made it off the vessel described the panic that ensued after the ship's collision with the rocks.

Lauren Moore of Bowling Green, Kentucky, said many lifeboats were full when she and others reached the upper deck.

"People were crying. People were hysterical," Moore said. "People were screaming at each other."

Beach said she was fortunate to get into a lifeboat with her husband.

"I certainly saw chaos and there was a lot of screaming and pushing and yelling, and it became a situation of every man for themselves. And everyone was trying to get in lifeboats and there was just not enough for the passengers that were on the boat," Beach said.

Italian prosecutors have ruled out a technical error as the cause of the incident, saying the captain was on the bridge at the time and had made a "grave error."

Prosecutors are considering whether others may share responsibility for the crash with the captain.

Schettino had never been involved in an accident before, said Costa Cruises chairman Pier Luigi Foschi.

Foschi placed blame for the wreck squarely on the captain, saying he deviated from frequently traveled routes.

"The captain decided to change the route and he went into water that he did not know in advance," Foschi said.

Foschi said passengers would get "material compensation for their loss," but declined to go into details.