Costa Captain Faces 1,000 Survivors in Theater Hearing

Francesco Schettino hears evidence in manslaughter charge
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2012 6:56 AM CDT
Costa Captain Faces Survivors at Court Hearing
In this frame grab released Tuesday, July 10, 2012, Francesco Schettinois seen during an exclusive interview with the "Quinta Colonna" program.   (AP Photo/Mediaset, HOEP)

Charged with manslaughter, the Costa Concordia's ex-captain arrived in court today to hear evidence against him in the accident that killed 32. In a Tuscan theater functioning as a courtroom, Francesco Schettino reportedly faced more than 1,000 survivors of the disaster. "We want to look him in the eye to see how he will react to the accusations," one tells Fox News. This week's hearings will play a role in deciding whether Schettino will face trial, which probably wouldn't begin until next year.

The hearing follows a 270-page disaster report last month by court-appointed experts which pointed the finger largely at Schettino, blaming him for plowing into a coral reef and mishandling the evacuation. Some of the blame, however, lay with others: Crew members, for instance, didn't all speak Italian and weren't all certified in evacuation techniques. Schettino says he may have saved lives by guiding the ship to shallow waters instead of ordering an evacuation right away; he also denies he was directing the ship at the moment of the accident, though the report finds otherwise. (More Costa Concordia stories.)

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