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Witness: 100s aboard Costa ship when captain fled
Coast guard official tells Italian court hundreds were on Costa cruise ship when captain fled
Associated Press
2013-12-09 11:01 PM

ROME (AP) -- A Italian Coast Guard official has testified that hundreds of people were still aboard the shipwrecked Costa Concordia when the commander abandoned the cruise liner in a lifeboat.

Coast Guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco become a national hero after repeatedly ordering Francesco Schettino, the Concordia's commander on trial for manslaughter and abandoning ship, to return to the badly listing vessel. Schettino is also charged with causing the 2012 shipwreck by sailing too close to the Tuscan island of Giglio. A reef gashed the hull, water rushed in and 32 people died.

De Falco testified in Grosseto, Tuscany, Monday. The court heard recorded phone conversations in which Schettino told De Falco about 10 people were left aboard. De Falco said hundreds were still aboard. Schettino never went back on the ship.

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