Costa Concordia captain challenges experts

Oct. 18, 2012 at 2:01 PM

GROSSETO, Italy, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Lawyers for the captain of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia are challenging expert testimony he could have avoided the wreck that killed 32 people.

The Costa Concordia ran aground Jan. 13 on the Tuscan island of Giglio after hitting a submerged rock and taking on water through a 164-foot gash in its hull. Proceedings began Monday to determine whether Francesco Schettino should be tried for manslaughter and other charges.

Schettino's defense team raised an estimated 200 challenges to the testimony of technical experts, the report said.

Adm. Giuseppe Cavo Dragone, the head of the Italian Naval Academy, testified Tuesday Schettino -- who allegedly abandoned his post while the ship's 4,200 passengers and crew were still being evacuated -- had "plenty of space, a huge amount of water and time to approach and take (the ship) out of danger," the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Two other ship's officers and the head of the Costa Cruises fleet, Roberto Ferrarini, are also being investigated, ANSA said.

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