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Captain Detained in Cruise Disaster

Police consider charges of manslaughter, abandoning ship
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2012 2:11 PM CST
Italian Captain Arrested after Luxury Liner Runs Aground
Rescue boats approach the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia resting on its starboard side after running aground near the tiny Tuscan island of Isola del Giglio, Italy, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

(Newser) – Italian police today detained the captain of a cruise ship that ran aground last night, killing at least three and triggering a massive overnight evacuation off Italy's west coast, CNN reports. Authorities say they may charge captain Francesco Schettino for manslaughter and abandoning ship. They also want to know why the 4,200-passenger Costa Concordia, which struck shallow rocks and rolled on its side, didn't send out an early mayday.

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The ship was 2.5 miles off course when disaster struck, the Italian Coast Guard says. But the president of Costa Cruises—who expressed "deep sorrow for this terrible tragedy"—insists the ship "was sailing its regularly scheduled itinerary." At least one passenger is less forgiving: "I'm pretty much angry, and I want to know why we were so close to the coast," says a dancer who was performing a trick with a magician at the time. Twenty people are listed as injured and up to 70 are missing. Two French passengers and an Peruvian crew member are the only official fatalities. (Read more cruise ships stories.)

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