Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 6:04 am
A judge in Italy on Wednesday ordered the captain of the ill-fated Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground off the coast of Tuscany last year, killing 32 people, to face charges of manslaughter.
Francesco Schettino, 52, is accused of negligence that led to the grounding of the ship and for abandoning the vessel while a rescue of the 4,200 passengers and crew was still underway.
"Five other defendants — an official of the cruise ship company, Costa Cruises, and four crew members — sought plea bargains, and their cases will be judged separately. ...
Captain Schettino has said his superiors ordered him to get close to an island, Giglio, for sightseeing purposes. The ship hit a rock, which gashed its hull and caused the ship to start taking on water until it capsized just off the island. In April, Costa Cruises struck a plea bargain with prosecutors and agreed to pay $1.28 million for administrative offenses related to the charges against its employees."
Since the incident, the nearly 1,000-foot-long cruise ship has been lying on its side at the site of the grounding just outside the island's main harbor.