Italy

Captain of Wrecked Cruise Ship Blames Helmsman

32 people died in sinking off the coast of Italy

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The captain of the wrecked Costa Concordia, now on trial over the deadly disaster, blamed his helmsman Monday for botching a last-minute corrective maneuver that he contends could have prevented the massive cruise ship's collision with a reef along the Italian coast.

Capt. Francesco Schettino is charged with manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning ship before the luxury cruise liner's 4,200 passengers and crew could be evacuated on Jan. 13, 2012. Thirty-two people died that night. Last week, the capsized ship was raised upright in a major salvage operation.

Critics have depicted Schettino as a negligent coward. But Schettino insists he is being made a scapegoat and that errors by other Costa Crociere SpA crew and mechanical problems exacerbated the tragedy that occurred near the Tuscan island of Giglio.