At least seven bodies have been pulled from the wreckage after a cargo ship crashed into the port in Genoa, Italy, toppling part of the control tower into the water.

Italy based correspondents for the Telegraph and the BBC have confirmed the latest figure.

One of the victims was thought to be a woman in her 30s, while at least two others are reported to be men.

genoa jolly nero

Rescue and emergency crews at the scene of the accident


Luca Cari, a spokesman for firefighters at the scene told the Associated Press a fifth body had been found near the tower’s submerged elevator.

Four others were hospitalised and several others are still missing.

LaPresse said the ship was the Jolly Nero and was almost 240 metres (787 ft) long and weighed 40,500 tonnes. It is owned by the Italian firm Ignazio Messina & Co. According to its website, the Messina Line has a fleet of 14 cargo ships.

The accident happened around 23:00 on Tuesday night, when a shift change was taking place inside the control tower, meaning there were more people inside than usual. The ship's owner, Stefano Messina, arrived at the port soon after the crash.

cargo ship crash

The collision toppled the control tower

He told journalists: "We are all utterly shocked. Nothing like this has ever happened before, we are desperate," reported the BBC.

The cause of the crash is not yet clear, but will be investigated by Genoa's prosecutor, Corriere Della Sera said, adding that the captain was being questioned.

Luigi Merlo, the president of the Genoa port authority told the Associated Press: "This event is unbelievable because we had the best weather navigation conditions."

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  • Rescuers carry away a body after the cargo ship Jolly Nero crashed into the control tower of the port of Genoa, northern Italy, killing at least three people, Tuesday, May 7, 2013. A half-dozen people remain unaccounted for early Wednesday, after a cargo ship identified as the Jolly Nero of the Ignazio Messina & C. SpA Italian shipping line, slammed into the port. (AP Photo/Marco Balostro)

  • Rescuers search what is left of the control tower of the port of Genoa, northern Italy, after it collapsed when a cargo ship slammed into it killing at least three people, Tuesday, May 7, 2013. A half-dozen people remain unaccounted for early Wednesday, after a cargo ship identified as the Jolly Nero of the Ignazio Messina & C. SpA Italian shipping line, slammed into the port. (AP Photo/Francesco Pecoraro)

  • In this picture taken late Tuesday, May 7, 2013, the staircase of the control tower of the harbor of Genoa, northern Italy, is tilted after the cargo ship Jolly Nero, seen at left, crashed against the control tower of the port killing at least three people, rescue officials said Wednesday, May 8, 2013. Four others were hospitalized and a half-dozen people remained unaccounted for, including some feared trapped inside the submerged elevator of the control tower, officials said. (AP Photo/Marco Balostro)

  • Rescuers search what is left of the control tower of the port of Genoa, northern Italy, after it collapsed when a cargo ship slammed into it killing at least three people, Tuesday, May 7, 2013. A half-dozen people remain unaccounted for early Wednesday, after a cargo ship identified as the Jolly Nero of the Ignazio Messina & C. SpA Italian shipping line, slammed into the port. (AP Photo/Francesco Pecoraro)

  • Rescuers search what is left of the control tower of the port of Genoa, northern Italy, after it collapsed when a cargo ship slammed into it killing at least three people, Tuesday, May 7, 2013. A half-dozen people remain unaccounted for early Wednesday, after a cargo ship identified as the Jolly Nero of the Ignazio Messina & C. SpA Italian shipping line, slammed into the port. (AP Photo/Francesco Pecoraro)

  • ITALY-SHIPPING-ACCIDENT

    The container ship Jolly Nero is docked near a damaged control tower in the port of Genoa on May 8, 2013, after it smashed into the tower leaving at least three people dead and several missing in a night-time accident. The accident, which took place at around half past midnight (2230 GMT, May 7), spooked Italians still reeling from the Costa Concordia night-time shipwreck off Giglio island in January 2012 which left 32 people dead. AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE (Photo credit should read GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Stefano Messina

    Stefano Messina, managing director of the Ignazio Messina & C. SpA Italian shipping line, arrives at Genoa harbor, northern Italy, where one of his cargo ships crashed into the port control tower killing at least three people, Tuesday, May 7, 2013. A half-dozen people remain unaccounted for early Wednesday, after a cargo ship identified as the Jolly Nero of the Ignazio Messina & C. SpA Italian shipping line, slammed into the port. (AP Photo/Marco Balostro)

  • The cargo ship Jolly Nero, left, is seen next to the toppled control tower of the port of Genoa, northern Italy, after it slammed into it killing at least three people, Tuesday, May 7, 2013. A half-dozen people remain unaccounted for early Wednesday, after a cargo ship identified as the Jolly Nero of the Ignazio Messina & C. SpA Italian shipping line, slammed into the port. (AP Photo/Marco Balostro)

  • This undated photo made available Wednesday, May 8, 2013, shows the control tower of the port of Genoa, northern Italy, that collapsed after a cargo ship slammed into it killing at least three people, late Tuesday, May 7, 2013. A half-dozen people remain unaccounted for early Wednesday, after a cargo ship identified as the Jolly Nero of the Ignazio Messina & C. SpA Italian shipping line, slammed into the port. (AP Photo/ AR/Studio6/LaPresse)

  • The toppled control tower, center, of the port of Genoa, northern Italy, is lit by rescuers after a cargo ship slammed into it killing at least three people, Tuesday, May 7, 2013. A half-dozen people remain unaccounted for early Wednesday, after a cargo ship identified as the Jolly Nero of the Ignazio Messina & C. SpA Italian shipping line, slammed into the port. An Italian Coast Guard vessel, left, assists the operations. (AP Photo/Francesco Pecoraro)