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Costa Concordia crew told coastguard of 'blackout'

19 January 2012 Last updated at 15:47 GMT

Italian television has released audio of what it says was the first radio call between the stricken Costa Concordia and the coastguard.

The conversation was said to have taken place at 2212 local time (2112 GMT) on 13 January.

According to Italian media, passengers on board the cruise liner had contacted police on land after the ship began experiencing problems.

In the conversation, the coastguard officer can be heard telling the crew member the police had been alerted by relatives of the passengers and that the passengers had said they had already been told to wear life vests.

"We have a blackout and we are checking the conditions on board," the crew member can be heard repeating.