Feb. 22, 2012 at 9:17 AM ET
Updated at 2 p.m. ET -- Salvage divers discovered eight bodies on Wednesday in the submerged part of the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship.
Italy's national civil protection agency said three of the bodies were recovered a few hours after being spotted by fire department divers, the Associated Press reported. The bodies are those of a woman, a girl and a man, the agency said. Because of worsening weather, the divers were not able to immediately remove the other five bodies.
The bodies were being transferred to a hospital on the mainland for identification, a process which could take days. Before Wednesday's development, 15 people were listed as missing, but only one of them was a child, Dayana Arlotti. The 5-year-old girl was on the Mediterranean cruise with her father and his girlfriend. The girlfriend survived. The father was among the missing.
Dayana's father, Williams, had a history of health problems, and was said by family to be traveling to celebrate a new lease on life — he had received a kidney and pancreas transplant in the past. Some witnesses told media that they last saw him during the evacuation as he headed back to his cabin to retrieve life-saving medication.
The confirmed death toll has risen to 25, and seven passengers remain missing and presumed dead. The only American passengers missing, Jerry and Barb Heil of Minnesota, were memorialized on Saturday.
Italian authorities stopped searching the ship for passengers at the end of January due to dangerous conditions. Salvage crews are still working on pumping almost 2,400 tons of diesel fuel from the vast hulk, which lies partially submerged just meters from the shore of Giglio, a popular holiday island in a maritime reserve off the Tuscan coast.
The Costa Concordia, a luxury liner carrying more than 4,200 passengers and crew, struck a rock off the Tuscan coast on Jan. 13. A gash in the ship's side flooded the engine rooms and caused the vessel to capsize.
Dozens of survivors are suing Carnival Corp. and its subsidiary Costa Cruise Lines for at least $528 million in damages. The lawsuit alleges that the crew failed to conduct safety drills, that the ship was off course when it hit the reef, that the captain waited too long before giving the order to evacuate, that the crew performed badly during the evacuation and that the cruise line inflicted emotional distress and failed to provide prompt and adequate aid to survivors.
NBC News, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.