Divers have found the remains of bodies near the wreck of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, a find that may end over a year of speculation about the fate of two missing victims.
The bodies were found on the seabed just outside the hull of the stricken ship, reports the BBC. The remains were discovered a week after the ship was moved from its side into an upright position in a massive engineering operation.
Thirty-two people died in the wreck on Jan. 13, 2012, after the Concordia crashed into a rocky reef and then capsized. Until last week it had lain on its side ever since, while the bodies of all but Italian passenger Maria Grazia Trecarichi and Indian waiter Russel Rebello have been recovered.
Rebello was 33 years old, while Trecarichi was celebrating her 50th birthday on the cruise liner in the company of her then 17-year-old daughter. Both were last seen near where the bodies were found this week, around the central part of the ship, according to NBC News.
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The remains were set to be brought to the surface on Thursday, where they will then be subject to DNA testing, said the BBC.
Italian civil protection agency head Franco Gabrielli called the recovery of the remains "almost a miracle."
"I have been waiting 20 months for this," said Rebello's brother, Kevin Rebello, to NBC News of the discovery. "I am prepared for it."
"When they identify the bodies, I think it's going to be a relief for everyone," Rebello added. His brother left behind a wife and a 5-year-old son, who are currently in India.