Divers searching for the bodies of the last two people missing from the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship have found what are believed to be human remains, Italian officials said Thursday.
DNA tests will be conducted to determine whether they are the remains of an Italian passenger, Maria Grazia Trecarichi, and an Indian waiter, Russel Rebello, who disappeared when the ship ran aground in January 2012 off the Italian island of Giglio.
Italian Coast Guard and Customs Service divers spotted the remains during a search Thursday around the central part of the ship, the country's Civil Protection Department said in a statement.
The search for the missing victims resumed after the half-submerged ship was raised back to an upright position in a painstaking, 19-hour salvage operation last week.
Civil Protection chief Franco Gabrielli told reporters that the remains found Thursday were "absolutely consistent" with the victims, Reuters news agency reported.
He called the find "almost a miracle" and said he immediately notified the families of the missing, according to Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper. [Link in Italian].
The 950-foot-long, 114,000-ton vessel was carrying about 4,000 passengers and crew when it ran aground.