| 4.7°C Dublin

Concordia captain fails in deal bid over crash

The captain of the Costa Concordia cruise liner that ran aground off Tuscany last year, killing 32 people, has failed in his bid for a plea bargain.

Francesco Schettino (below) is accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship before all passengers and crew were evacuated.

His lawyer, Francesco Pepe, said Schettino had wanted to defend himself at trial, but when the other defendants all sought plea bargains, his defence team sought one, too.

Mr Pepe said prosecutors have agreed to plea bargains for all except Schettino. That means Schettino might be the only defendant if a trial is ordered.

A judge must rule on prosecutors' request that Schettino be indicted. Schettino says the Concordia struck a reef not on nautical charts.

Survivors of the Costa Concordia disaster turned up at the court to confront the ship's former captain.

Wearing dark glasses, Schettino used a back entrance to slip into a theatre in the Tuscan town of Grosseto that is serving as a courtroom.

The Concordia ran aground and capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio in January 2012 after Schettino took it off course and brought it close to the island as part of a stunt.

Hearings this week will help decide whether a judge will order trial for Schettino.