Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia, appeared in court on Monday to attend a hearing that will decide if he will face full trial. He also shook hands with survivors and apologized.
Schettino is being charged with multiple counts of manslaughter and abandoning ship after the cruise ship that he was captain of hit a reef off the coast of Italy killing 32 passengers and crew members. He was attempting to perform a maneuver called a salute when the ship hull was torn open after hitting a reef.
Luciano Castro was an Italian survivor from the accident said that Schettino appeared embarrassed when they spoke. Castro also told reporters “The only thing he said was when I told him that I hope that the truth will soon be established, he said, ‘yes, it needs to be established soon'”.
“What I would say to Captain Schettino is first to tell the truth and second to remember when he speaks that there are people looking at him who are still missing loved ones, people who will never be found because of what happened.”
Schettino has admitted to making mistakes but also accused Costa Cruises of mishandling the response. He filed a lawsuit last week saying that he was unfairly dismissed from his job after the accident.
He did not speak during the hearing on Monday, but his lawyers said that he accepted blame for the accident. His lawyer, Franceso Pepe said: “The captain is doing what is in his right to do, he is conducting his defense”.
Also included in the investigation are eight other officers and executives of Costa Cruises. The data from the ship’s black box will be analyzed by a panel of experts to see who was at fault.
Peter Ronai, a lawyer for the victim’s families, said: “The reason these people died is not because of Captain Schettino, the reason these people died is because of the corporation, the negligence in their practices and safety procedures. There was no reason for anyone to die”.
Carnival Corp. is the parent company of Costa Cruises.