GROSSETO - A lawyer for the families of the 32 people killed when the Costa Concordia cruise ship capsized off Italy's coast said on Monday that no one should have died in the accident as a court prepared to hear what the vessel's "black box" data recorders held.
The comments were made as a court began to try to reconstruct the accident in a series of pre-trial hearings attended by Captain Francesco Schettino, the captain of the wrecked vessel. The court will decide if Schettino should face a full trial, which could take place next year.
The 114,500 tonne luxury cruise ship capsized and sank on Jan. 13 after approaching the Tuscan island of Giglio to perform a maneuver close to the shore known as a "salute". It struck a rock which tore a gash in its hull and capsized soon afterwards.
At least 30 people lost their lives during a chaotic night-time evacuation of 4,200 passengers and crew, and a further two bodies have still not been recovered. The ship is still sitting half-submerged on a rocky shelf off the island.
Schettino has said he did make mistakes but has accused the company of mishandling the response. He said earlier this week he was suing Costa Cruises, a unit of Carnival Corp., for unfair dismissal following the accident.
Schettino faces charges of multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship. It was the first such hearing he had attended.