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January 17th, 2012

11-dead-in-italian-cruise-ship-wreck-as-search-for-missing-continues

Five more bodies were found  Tuesday, bringing the total dead to 11 after the Costa Concordia hit rocks and capsized Friday off the Italian coast. The search for missing continued as navy explosives experts blasted a hole in the vessel’s hull to provide access to search-and-rescue teams.

The ship’s captain was still in jail as investigators continued to look at his actions before and after the crash. An Italian newspaper reported that authorities believe the captain abandoned the luxury liner before all passengers were evacuated.

A transcript of a conversation between an Italian Coast Guard official and Capt. Francesco Schettino shows the official at least 10 times ordered the captain back onto the ship to coordinate rescue efforts.

Schettino attended a court hearing Tuesday to determine whether he should remain in jail while the investigation continues. A prosecutor said Schettino may face charges including manslaughter, shipwreck and abandoning a ship with passengers still on board and could face up to 15 years in prison.

Schettino’s attorney said the captain was “shattered, dismayed, saddened for the loss of lives and strongly disturbed” but “comforted by the fact that he maintained during those moments the necessary lucidity to put in place a difficult emergency maneuver” that saved many lives.

Technical error has been ruled out as cause of the crash, and prosecutors have said the captain made a “grave error.”

The maritime lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent cruise ship crewmembers and passengers who have been injured in accidents on these vessels.

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