Grosseto: The failure of Costa Concordia's captain to promptly order an evacuation of the cruise ship was the sole reason 32 people died, prosecutors said in their final arguments in court.
A verdict in the 19-month-old trial is expected this week for Francesco Schettino, accused of causing the Jan. 13, 2012 shipwreck near the Italian island of Giglio, manslaughter and abandoning ship before all 4,200 aboard were evacuated.
Prosecutor Alessandro Leopizzi contended there would have been time for everyone to survive had Schettino quickly ordered evacuation after the Concordia smashed into a reef when he steered too close to the tiny island near Tuscany.
Instead, it was "each man for himself," Leopizzi said of the chaotic, delayed evacuation.
Schettino's defense has argued equipment problems complicated evacuation, and that he wanted to steer the Concordia closer to port.
His lawyers seek acquittal for manslaughter and abandoning ship. Schettino has said the reef wasn't on his nautical charts.
"There has never been someone so guilty" as Schettino is, co-prosecutor Stefano Pizza said, and described the defendant's conduct as "reprehensible." Addressing the three-judge panel, he urged convictions on all counts and reiterated the prosecutors' request for a 26-year prison term. Schettino must "learn (to accept) his responsibilities.
All this time he has wanted to dump his responsibilities" on others, Pizza said.
Prosecutor Leopizzi noted it took a few hours before the Concordia rolled over completely on its side, after seawater rushed through the gashed hull.
Eventually the dramatic listing made it impossible to lower some lifeboats. Some survivors, with no more space in lifeboats, swam 50 meters in frigid waters to shore; others drowned inside or outside the ship. Helicopters rescued others stranded aboard while Schettino was already ashore.