Captain of shipwrecked Costa Concordia blames helmsman in wreck that left 32 dead

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Associated Press

Posted on September 23, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 23 at 12:04 PM

GROSSETO, Italy (AP) — Facing the possibility of 20 years in prison, the captain of the wrecked Costa Concordia is telling an Italian court that others were to blame for cruise ship's deadly grounding along the Italian coast last year.

Capt. Francesco Schettino (frahn-CHEHS'-koh skeh-TEE'-noh) is charged with manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning ship before the luxury cruise liner's 4,200 passengers and crew could be evacuated. Thirty-two people died in the incident.

At his trial today, Schettino said the collision wouldn't have happened if his helmsman hadn't botched a last-minute corrective maneuver, steering right instead of left and colliding with the jagged reef. The captain also has said the reef wasn't on his charts, and that the company should shoulder some blame.

The maneuver near the Tuscan island of Giglio (JEEL'-yoh) was not on the ship's planned route. Schettino is alleged to have been trying to impress passengers with a close-up view of the island's twinkling lights.

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APPHOTO AJM108: Captain Francesco Schettino looks up at a photographer as he leaves the court room of the converted Teatro Moderno theater for his trial, in Grosseto, Italy, Monday, Sept. 23, 2013. Schettino is charged with manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning the Costa Concordia before all aboard were evacuated after it crashed into a reef off the Tuscan island of Giglio in January 2012, killing 32 people. The trial of the captain of the ship resumed Monday after a two-month summer recess, during which a salvage operation took place to upright the wreck. Schettino blamed his helmsman for botching a crucial maneuver that he contended would have avoided the cruise ship's deadly collision with a reef off an Italian island. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) (23 Sep 2013)

<<APPHOTO AJM108 (09/23/13)££

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