As passengers try to escape the carnage of the cruise ship crash, it is now a matter of survival for passengers at the cruise ships hotels.
Some of the dead were crew members, including two Americans who were on a ship that had been carrying around 40 passengers.
A third American, a Canadian, and two British tourists died at the crash site.
“It is hard to say for sure how many were dead, but the death toll is certainly high,” said Steve Schulz, director of the University of Southern California Center for Cruise Ship Safety.
“The survivors are in dire need of medical attention.
It is a tragedy.”
At the scene, authorities are treating the victims as they have been, and hoping to recover all of the passengers who died.
The crash occurred when the Costa Concordia lost power early Friday and lost control of the ship at high speed.
The Costa Concordio was traveling from Venice, Italy, to the Spanish island of Mallorca when it went down in the Pacific Ocean.
At least 40 people are believed to have died when the ship hit the reef, said Francesco Pignatelli, spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard.
A Coast Guard helicopter, part of the disaster relief operation, has been on standby at the scene of the crash, but authorities said it would not be able to respond immediately.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, cruise ships are the nation’s fastest-growing form of cargo shipping, with annual revenue of $3.7 billion.
The Coast Guard is on its second search for the missing crew members.
As the ship was traveling in international waters, authorities said the cruise operator, Carnival Corp., was unaware of the accident until it was reported to authorities late Friday night.
Officials have not yet identified the ship’s captain or crew members or provided any details about what caused the accident.
Authorities say it appeared the ship had lost power shortly after the crash.
The Costa Concordian’s name is synonymous with its iconic, two-masted, steel-hulled vessel.
The vessel, which is named for the island of Capri, was designed in the early 1900s.
It was a luxury liner that reached the top of the world.
The ship was the first ship to be built in the United States, and it was the longest in the world, said John Hays, a professor at the University at Buffalo and an expert on cruise ships.
It has become a symbol of America’s cultural identity and the cruise industry.
Its namesake, a Spanish pirate, and the ship that sunk during the Battle of Jutland in 1815, have inspired movies, songs, and television shows.
The ships design is the inspiration for the famous ship in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” said Hays.
One of the biggest concerns about the disaster was that the ship could have been damaged by the waves, according to Hays and other experts.
More than 2,000 people were on board the ship, many of them tourists.
In addition to the victims, many survivors were also injured, said Chris Schindler, a former cruise line executive who was the captain of the Costa Cruises Cruising Line from 2001 to 2005.
He said the ship suffered from a number of structural failures, including a leaking engine room and other damage.
Schindler said the vessel suffered from several major issues, including insufficient air conditioning and overheating that could have led to an explosion.
He also said the bridge crew, which was responsible for all communications with the outside world, failed to evacuate passengers and instead kept passengers onboard.
The ship was owned by Costa Cruise, and Schindlers son-in-law was the shipmaster.
Carnival did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.