TODAY

TODAY   |  July 17, 2013

Costa Concordia captain’s trial begins today

A year and a half after the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster that claimed the lives of 32 people, the ship’s captain heads to court today, facing a potential 20 years in prison.

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

>> now to italy where a year and a half after the costa concordia cruise ship disaster, the captain is going on trial today. michelle kosinski is at the ship wreck this morning. good morning to you.

>> reporter: hey, savannah. if you're wondering what happened to all of this, here's the ship. they just installed another 7-story high metal float to the side of it with the goal of rolling and tugging this thing out of here in early september. across this water his trial just started. he faces possibly 20 years in prison.

>> it is the captain, still tan but saying nothing facing justice, accused of manslaughter, causing this wreck, and then abandoning ship. all of which he has denied. his lawyers say he was thrown from the costa concordia tossing him into a lifeboat. they tried to make a plea deal for him which would mean more than three years in prison but prosecutors turned it down. rightly so according to some survivors that was on his honeymoon.

>> i thought that was the end.

>> they had to climb a rope and ladder and get down the hull fearing they were close to death.

>> he got off a quarter to one and here's my new wife and i clinging to the rope ladder at the back getting down at 4:30. 42 people died. perhaps his help could have saved one or two more people.

>> today, vacationers play in the water that still float through the concordia. it's half a billion dollar to scrap the ship.

>> this has never been done before has it?

>> not on this scale.

>> do you think it's going to work.

>> that's why we're here.

>> reporter: he says he's a scapegoat. the press calls him the most hated man in italy. at the mercy of the court, it could claim the next 20 years of his life. so about half a billion dollars to get this out of here after which the ship will only be worth about 15 million. if you have been thinking the cruise industry has suffered a hit because of this and other problems, you would be wrong. it is booming and expanding, matt.

>>> all right michelle kosinski in