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Hearing begins in Costa Concordia disaster

Oct. 15, 2012 at 8:39 AM

GROSSETO, Italy, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The ex-captain of an Italian cruise ship that ran aground Jan. 13 and killed 32 people was in court Monday for a hearing on whether he should be indicted.

Francesco Schettino of the ill-fated Costa Concordia is under investigation on accusations of manslaughter, abandoning his post before the evacuation of all 4,200 passengers and crew members and failing to communicate properly with maritime authorities.

Schettino, who was fired last week by cruise line company Costa Crociere and has sued to get his job back, used a side entrance to enter the proceedings in the Tuscan town of Grosseto, where the pretrial hearing is being conducted, ANSA reported.

The hearing could result in Schettino being sent to trial next year for manslaughter and abandoning ship, court observers said.

Schettino said he was attending the hearing "to show my face to my accusers."

The proceedings focused on testimony and the contents of the ship's so-called black box, ANSA said.

The 114,500-ton Costa Concordia ran aground off Italy's Tuscan coast near the island of Giglio.

"I have waited nine months for him to say sorry but he has not realized there was a tragedy," one survivor, Patrizia Perilli, told Britain's Guardian before the hearing, which was closed to the public. "I am really angry."

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