Five crew members sentenced in deaths of 32 Costa Concordia passengers

July 20, 2013 at 7:47 AM
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ROME, July 20 (UPI) -- Five crew members of the shipwrecked Costa Concordia have been convicted in an Italian court of manslaughter in connection with the deaths of 32 passengers.

The helmsman, on-board hotel director, two bridge officers and the head of the company's crisis unit all accepted plea bargains, the BBC reported Saturday.

The bridge officers and the helmsman were sentenced to between 20 and 23 months in prison, while the hotel director received a two-year sentence, The Scotsman reported. The crisis coordinator received a 34-month sentence.

The trial of the captain of the ill-fated cruise liner, Francesco Schettino, has been adjourned while electrical tests he requested are conducted on the ship.

Schettino, who faces multiple charges of manslaughter, is accused of causing the shipwreck and abandoning the Costa Concordia while many of the 4,229 passengers were still aboard.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in jail.

Schettino had pleaded not guilty, saying his actions saved many more people from dying.

His trial is expected to resume in September.

The ship was punctured by rocks the first night of the cruise off the coast of the Italian island of Giglio in January 2012. The ship still lies on its side at the site of the accident.

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