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Ship search finds 12th body, records

GIGLIO, Italy -- Divers plumbing the Costa Concordia's murky depths pulled out the body of a woman in a life vest Saturday, while scuba-diving police swam through the captain's cabin to retrieve a safe and documents belonging to the man who abandoned the cruise liner after it was gashed by a rocky reef on the Tuscan coast.

Hoping for a miracle -- or at least for the recovery of bodies from the ship that has become an underwater tomb -- relatives of some of the 20 missing appealed to survivors of the Jan. 13 shipwreck to offer details that could help divers reach loved ones while it is still possible to search the luxury liner, which is still lying on its side. The clock is ticking because the craft is perched precariously on a rocky ledge of seabed near Giglio island.

"We are asking the 4,000 persons who were on board to give any information they can about any of the persons still missing," said Alain Litzler, a Frenchman who is the father of missing passenger Mylene Litzler.

The death toll rose to at least 12 Saturday after a waterlogged body was extracted from a passageway near a gathering point for evacuation by lifeboats in the rear of the vessel, Coast Guard Cmdr. Filippo Marini said. It was not immediately clear if the woman was a passenger or crew member.

A female Peruvian bartender and several adult female passengers were among the 21 people listed as missing before the latest corpse was found.

Meanwhile, police divers, carrying out orders from prosecutors investigating Captain Francesco Schettino for suspected manslaughter and abandoning the ship, swam through the cold, dark waters to reach his cabin. State TV and the Italian news agency ANSA reported that the divers located and removed his safe and two suitcases. His passport and several documents were also pulled out, state media said.

Searchers inspecting the bridge also found a hard disk containing data of the voyage, Sky TG24 TV reported.

Costa Crociere, the ship's operator and subsidiary of U.S.-based Carnival Cruise Lines, has said the captain had deviated without permission from the vessel's route in an apparent maneuver to sail close to the island of Giglio and impress passengers.

Schettino, despite audiotapes of his defying Coast Guard orders to scramble back aboard, has denied he abandoned ship while hundreds of passengers were desperately trying to get off the listing vessel. He has said he coordinated the rescue from aboard a lifeboat and then from the shore.

Schettino is under house arrest for investigation of alleged manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the ship before all were evacuated.

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