TODAY   |  October 16, 2012

Concordia captain faces survivors, black box

Francesco Schettino, the captain of the capsized Costa Concordia, faced the survivors and families of victims at a court hearing where audio from the ship’s black box was released. NBC’s Michelle Kosinksi reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> much. a hearing is under way in italy to decide if the captain of the ill-fated " costa concordia " will stand trial. he's accused, as you remember, of causing the shipwreck that killed 32 people back in january. nbc's michelle kosinksi is there this morning. michelle , good morning.

>> reporter: hi, matt, guess what? the ship is still here nearly a year later. could be another year before they can float it away for scrap, and now it's just come out that it's beenburg rides out here. jewelry, paintings, furniture stolen. meantime, the captain's on trial for causing the wreck, but many survivors say he's just something of a scapegoat. final responsibility lies with the american company that owns it all. francesco schettino sporting a dark tan and darker glasses arrived at court through a side door. it's actually a local theater being used for the preliminary hearings to accommodate the crowds from several nations. survivors, families of the 32 who did not make it off the " costa concordia ." some said they just wanted to look the captain in the eye. also here, lawyers representing hundreds of passengers.

>> we felt that he didn't seem very remorseful or very sorry about what has happened on the ship. seemed very confident.

>> reporter: just as we've seen some of the panic on board, thousands of people scrambling for life boats , jumping into the water after the colossal ship struck rock too close to the island. now we hear the ship's black box . that's captain schettino in those moments ordering the ship to be turned abruptly. schettino sat down with us in july.

>> after the accident, of course, everybody was realizing that sooner or later maybe could there be an accident that was waiting to us.

>> reporter: he said he owned up to his mistakes but has accused the company of pressuring captains to do these salutes. the company has said he alone made the decision to go off course and that he badly mishandled the aftermath. attorneys here for the victims though say responsibility lying ultimately at the very top with u.s.-based carnival.

>> he made a horrible mistake, but, you know, he was allowed to make that mistake many times before without consequences so that's one of the big problems is the lack of discipline of the captains. carnival should know where its ships are and should know what they are doing, and they failed to discipline him, and if they had done it, this wouldn't have happened.

>> reporter: we talked to costa cruises this morning. they, again, blamed the whole thing on schettino calling his suggestion there might have been some kind of mechanical failure a colossal security. lawsuits against the parent companies allege other things like not enough crew training, language barriers, and somebody else is suing the company now, schettino. he wants his job back alleging wrongful termination. matt?

>> all right, michelle kosinksi nibali this morning. michelle , thank you