Francesco Schettino Faces Costa Concordia Survivors In Italian Court (PICTURES)


Events that took place the night the Costa Concordia sank will be reconstructed in court with the captain of ill-fated cruiser coming face-to-face with survivors of the tragedy.

Captain Francesco Schettino is currently facing charges of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the cruise-liner.

32 people died when the cruise liner ran aground off the Tuscan island of Giglio with 4230 passengers and crew on board.

The events of the night will be recreated in court for survivors and families of the victims

In the preliminary hearing on Monday the contents of the Costa Concordia’s data recorder will be revealed. After experts reveal their evidence a judge will decide whether there should be a criminal trial.

"There is in us a hunger for justice" said the mayor of Giglio, Sergio Ortelli, commenting on the hearing.

According to survivors inside the court, Schettino appeared nervous and agitated, biting his fingernails and tapping his phone before the proceedings kicked off.

Special permission has been granted for Schettino to attend the Grosseto trial as he is still under a court order to remain in his home town of Meta di Sorrento, near Naples.

The proceedings are taking place in the town's 1300 capacity Moderna theatre which is closed to journalists. A handshake took place between one survivor of the disaster and the disgraced captain during a break in the hearing reported Huff Post Italia.

"We hope that the truth will be established soon," he told Schettino. "Yes, the truth must be ascertained," Schettino replied.

A very tanned Schettino leaves his house in Naples (far left)

An audio recording between Schettino and Gregorio De Falco, a Coast Guard officer has already been leaked to the press.

Schettino was nicknamed ‘Captain Coward’ by the Italian tabloids after a recording revealed De Falco told the captain "Get back on board, for f*** sake," only for Schettino to tell the officer “it’s dark.”

The rusting ship lists in the waters off Giglio

Schettino later claimed he “tripped” into a lifeboat but then supervised the rescue from the shore. Other reports claim the captain hailed a taxi home.

Engineering and naval experts have been handed a 270 page report of evidence from the night the Costa Concordia ran aground.

According to Huff Post Italia, the report contains evidence that Schettino ordered an officer to take a different route around Giglio. This is of particular significance as many blame Schettino for sailing the ship too close to the island to make a “salute”.

Schettino has claimed his decision to steer the ship into shallower water actually saved lives, however it is alleged there is evidence within the report that shows the manoeuvre impact was merely chance.

Schettino has alleged his actions averted a worse disaster

Also under examination is whether the extent of tragedy could have been avoided if a state of emergency was declared sooner.

Costa Cruise executives were told there were problems on board 68 minutes before the order came to abandon ship, but the advice given by the cruise ship company's crisis management team appears to show Schettino was not urged to announce the emergency straight away.

Special permission has been granted for Schettino to attend the Grosseto trial as he is still under a court order to remain in his home town of Meta di Sorrento, near Naples.

Eight other officers and managers of Costa Cruises are also under investigation for their role in the disaster.

Vacationing at the site of a disaster: The isle of Giglio is a popular destination for holidaymakers

Meanwhile the mammoth hulk of the Costa Concordia continues to form a blot the horizon of Gigilo. By tonnage it is largest passenger ship to ever have sunk and the salvage operation is one of the most expensive ever recorded, with the current cost sitting at £186m.

Gigantic cranes and complicated derricks frame the ship, preparing to haul the ship out onto its base. It will then be towed to a shipyard and dismantled into its reusable parts.

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