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  • 5 March 2013, 22:23

Costa Concordia Victims' Last Moments Revealed

Details of the final moments of the 32 people who died in the Costa Concordia cruise ship tragedy have emerged in a prosecution report.

The 60-page document makes up the official request to have captain Francesco Schettino - who was in charge at the time - sent for trial.

He is accused of multiple manslaughter, causing a disaster, failing to inform authorities of what had happened and abandoning ship while dozens of passengers were still onboard.

More than 4,000 passengers and crew were onboard the doomed Costa Concordia when it struck rocks after Schettino allegedly changed course in order to carry out a sail-by salute of a Mediterranean island to impress holidaymakers.

The 70-metre gash allowed water to pour in and the ship eventually capsized and came to rest on its side at a location known as Seagull Point, just outside the harbour on the island of Giglio in January last year, hours into a seven-day cruise.

The chaotic scenes of panic and disorganisation that gripped the ship as it started to sink are evident throughout the report.

In one part, Francecso Verusio relives the moment when the youngest victim of the disaster, five-year-old Dayana Arlotti, and her father, William, drowned.

Mr Verusio wrote that they died ''because they were unable to find any space in a lifeboat on deck four, on the left-hand side, and they were then directed to the right-hand side by crew members on the same deck but as they were crossing the inside corridor ... they fell into a hole that had been created when the ship rolled onto its right side.

"They dropped into an area that was already flooded and they died from drowning," he added.

Other stories include that of bartender Erika Fani Soria Molinala, who fell from a lifeboat as it pulled away from the Concordia but as she was not wearing a lifejacket she was dragged underwater from the current created as the Concordia tilted on its side.

It also emerged that holidaymaker Maria D'Introno - whose body has yet to be recovered - was told to get out of a lifeboat because it was too full and the tilt of the ship made it impossible to launch safely.

She was later seen terrified by the edge of the ship, jumping into the water without a lifejacket despite not being able to swim.

The last moments of musician Giuseppe Girolamo are described in another section of the report.

It emerged he had been directed to the right-hand side of the boat to get into a lifeboat and had actually got into one when he decided to give up his place - only to later drown.

The prosecution report also details how Schettino was distracted by the ''inopportune presence of unauthorised persons'' on the bridge of the Concordia, including several crew members and passenger hostess Domnica Cemortan - who was seen enjoying dinner with the captain minutes before the ship struck the rocks.

It also details how Schettino was distracted as he was speaking on the telephone while he was ''in close proximity to the coast in a dangerous situation and with the helm under manual control".

It goes on to list 157 passengers who are suffering from post-traumatic stress following the disaster.

Schettino, 52, has insisted he is innocent of all charges and that the rocks were not marked on his charts. He says he should be thanked as his actions in steering the ship back towards the port at Giglio saved hundreds of lives.

However, he was ridiculed by the world's media after it emerged he had told coastguards he "tripped and fell" into a lifeboat as the Concordia began to list to one side, while recordings later emerged of him refusing orders to get back onboard and co-ordinate the rescue efforts.

Some other crew members also face charges, as do management figures from the company Costa Cruises, which owns the ship that is still lying on its side and not expected to be removed until September at the earliest.

The initial part of the trial is expected to last a week and once again will take place in a theatre in the town of Grosseto.

Prosecutors have also requested the indictment of five other crew members, including two officers Ciro Ambrosio and Silvio Coronica and the Concordia's helmsman Jacob Rusli.

In an unusual move, Mr Verusio has posted details of the case on a Facebook site in various languages and invited those who may have a claim to contact him.

It has also emerged that Costa Cruises asked for a plea-bargaining agreement, which would see them pay a fine of one million euros. They insist Schettino is solely to blame.

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