Israel Franco Marino
Died 1st February 2014
A salvage diver has died while working on the Costa Concordia wreck after it is believed he cut himself on metal sheeting 10ft underwater and bled to death.
Widely named in Italian and Spanish media as Israel Franco Moreno, from La CoruÃ±a, Spain, he was part of a team attaching 30 huge flotation tanks to the side of the 114,500-tonne ship.
He is the first person to die in the salvage operation since the cruise liner hit rocks two years ago off the holiday island of Giglio, Italy.
The tragedy happened just days after investigators boarded the ship for the first time since it sank on January 13, 2012, killing 32 people.
According to reports the victim gashed his leg on metal sheeting underwater and was unable to get free, bleeding profusely, until a fellow diver helped him to the surface.
Reports say he was conscious when he surfaced and was airlifted to hospital, but later died.
An investigation is under way after today's incident.
In a statement carried by the Italian ANSA news agency, Titan Micoperi said the diver was working underwater in the area around the wreckage site for the Spanish company UCS (Underwater Contractors Spain).
The head of Italy's civil protection agency, Franco Gabrielli, expressed condolences for the death and recalled the dedication of people working on the wreckage, saying they had worked 'for two years without a break, in difficult conditions not without risks, to achieve the common goal of removing the Concordia from Giglio.'
Italian and Spanish media widely named the victim as Israel Franco Moreno, aged between 40 and 42, from La CoruÃ±a in north west Spain. He has not yet been formally named by authorities.
A Facebook page believed to be that belonging to the victim showed several photos of him working on the wreckage and with colleagues.
It appeared he had been working on the salvage operation for several months and his captions made several references to how cold the water was. On one he wrote: 'Very cold, but joyful.'
On another, he wrote: 'Another beautiful sunrise in Giglio'.
Enrico Rossi, president of the Tuscany region, told La Repubblica: 'Another mourning adds to the long list of victims of this vessel, adding pain to pain..
'It also adds rage for another death of a young man who was doing nothing more than his duty.'
It is the first fatality of a worker on the maritime salvage project, believed to be the largest in history and expected to cost Â£496 million by the time the ship is removed in June.
However, two workers have been injured at the shipyard dealing with the wreck.
In April last year a man fell backwards suffering a head injury and fracturing his collarbone, and a month later a worker was hospitalised while carrying out drilling operations, ANSA reported.