October 8, 2013
Costa Concordia, A Look Back
Remains Found at Concordia Wreck Site
Costa Concordia Trial Adjourned Through September (8:30 a.m. EDT) -- The former first mate on Costa Concordia testified in court Monday that ex-Captain Francesco Schettino's mental state in the critical minutes following the ship striking a reef could have contributed to the disaster.
In the prosecution's first testimony for the trial of Costa Cruises' ex-Captain, First Deck Officer Giovanni Iaccarino said that, although he (Iaccarino) came to the conclusion that the ship was doomed within 10 minutes of the accident, ex-Captain Schettino was unable to act on repeated reports from Iaccarino and other members of his crew that the ship was flooding and had no propulsion systems.
"He was completely lost," Iaccarino said, according to the Associated Press. "He was out of his routine mental state. He was under shock. He wasn't the person I knew."
It took Schettino roughly an hour to issue an evacuation order after a rock tore a 230-foot gash in the side of Concordia's hull, at which point the ship was listing too badly to deploy many of the lifeboats onboard. Passengers described a frenzied evacuation off the coast of Italy's Giglio Island, with many passengers and crew scrambling for available lifeboats and some opting to jump overboard to make an escape.
Schettino faces up to 20 years in prison for multiple counts of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship before it had been completely evacuated. He is also accused of deviating from the ship's set course, and bringing Concordia to within a half-mile from Giglio's shore in what's known as a "sail-by" or "salute" in nautical parlance.
According to website news.com.au first mate Iaccarino told judges in Grosseto that Schettino ordered crew to sail a half-mile from Giglio, rather than the normal route for the ship, five miles offshore, in the center of the Argentario Canal. Schettino and his lawyers have argued that ship charts weren't accurate, and didn't show the Scole reef -- on which the ship ran aground -- but Iaccarino qualified the argument in his testimony, saying that the charts were accurate up to a half-mile from shore. Iaccarino is the first of more than 1,000 witnesses set to take the stand in the trial. One of the two remaining bodies of the 32 people who died in the Concordia disaster has been found, according to representatives of Italy's Civil Protection Agency. Italian divers found human remains inside the Concordia wreck on the submerged third deck that are believed to be those of Indian waiter, Russel Rebello. In recent days, bones and other remains have been discovered at the wreck site, which are undergoing DNA testing. Concordia was righted in September in an operation known as a "parbuckling," and judges in the Schettino trial ordered further examination of the ship last week. --By Jamey Bergman, U.K. Production Editor