Costa Concordia hearing in October

2012-07-21 13:30
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Rome - Findings from the black box of the Costa Concordia cruise ship will be revealed on 15 October, an Italian judge said Saturday at a hearing where the data was due to have been presented.

Lawyers representing survivors were at the technical hearing in Grosseto in central Italy where investigative judge Valeria Montesarchio said there had been delays in analysing all the data from the instruments on the ship.

The 114 500-ton Costa Concordia crashed into rocks just off the Tuscan island of Giglio with 4 229 people on board on the night of 13 January just as many passengers were having dinner on the first day of a Mediterranean cruise.

Nine people are being investigated including three executives from owner Costa Crociere, Europe's biggest cruise operator, and captain Francesco Schettino, who is also suspected of abandoning the ship before the evacuation was completed.

Investigators are probing why the ship was sailing so close to the island at high speed in a "salute" manoeuvre and why the evacuation was delayed for more than an hour after the crash when the giant ship was already tilting badly.

No trial is expected until the beginning of next year at the earliest.

The Costa Concordia still lies keeled over on an underwater shelf just off the coast of the island. Costa Crociere is planning to right it and tow it away for scrapping in a salvage operation that is unprecedented for its scale.

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