There are growing suspicions that Mr. Schettino may have steered the vessel close to Giglio to salute tourists gathered on its port.

Firefighters in Italy on Sunday rescued a third survivor of a sunken cruise ship, a Costa Concordia crew member, as investigators turned the heat on the captain amid growing suspicions that he may have steered his vessel dangerously close to Giglio island.

According to Italian media reports, officer Marrico Giampetroni was suffering from leg injuries but was not in a life-threatening condition.

Firefighters located him after hearing noises coming from a partially flooded area of the ship. The latest rescue came just hours after a South Korean couple on their honeymoon was brought to safety.

Efforts to reach survivors were hampered by blocked doors and staircases, and scattered furniture inside the 290-metre ship, which is half-submerged and listing 80 degrees with a crack in its hull.

Nearly 40 others still remain unaccounted for, more than 30 hours after the sinking of the Costa Concordia off Italy’s western coast.

Two Japanese tourists who had been listed among the missing were traced in Rome after they left the scene of the accident without first informing the authorities.

Three people have been confirmed dead so far: Two French passengers and a Peruvian crew member. The three men are thought to have drowned after the ship hit a rock and then ran aground late Friday near Giglio, a small island off the coast of Tuscany.

The ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, was taken into custody on Saturday after being questioned by investigators trying to determine the cause of the accident. He faces charges of multiple manslaughter and of causing a disaster.

There are growing suspicions that Mr. Schettino may have steered the vessel close to Giglio to salute tourists gathered on its port.

Similar manoeuvres have taken place several times before, according to witnesses.

“Many ships pass by Giglio to salute the island’s inhabitants with a whistle. It is a beautiful spectacle to watch the illuminated ship from land ... This time things went badly,” daily La Repubblica quoted Giglio Mayor Sergio Ortelli as saying.

Officials say cruise liners normally sail about 3-5 kilometres away from Giglio.

According to prosecutor Francesco Verusio, the fact that the ship had moved so close to the island meant that hitting rocks was “inevitable.” Mr. Verusio also noted that captain Schettino was “certainly not the last to leave the ship.” Meanwhile, the ship’s “black box” had been recovered and was expected to shed light on the vessel’s last movements.

Its Genoa-based owner said 3,216 passengers and 1,013 crew members were on board at the time of the accident.

About 14 passengers were still receiving hospital treatment Sunday, while there was growing concern about a possible oil spill, with the ship carrying an estimated 2,380 tons of diesel.

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