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5 convicted in Italy for Costa Concordia shipwreck

FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012 file photo, an Italian firefighter is lowered from a helicopter onto the grounded Costa Concordia cruise ship off the Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy. An Italian court on Saturday, July 20, 2013 accepted plea bargains for five Costa Crociere employees in the Costa Concorda shipwreck that killed 32 crew and passengers, convicting all of multiple manslaughter and negligence. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito, File)

FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012 file photo, an Italian firefighter is lowered from a helicopter onto the grounded Costa Concordia cruise ship off the Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy. An Italian court on Saturday, July 20, 2013 accepted plea bargains for five Costa Crociere employees in the Costa Concorda shipwreck that killed 32 crew and passengers, convicting all of multiple manslaughter and negligence. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito, File)

An Italian court yesterday convicted five employees of an Italian cruise company over the Costa Concordia shipwreck that killed 32 crew and passengers, handing down a maximum sentence of two years and 10 months reached in plea bargains.

The guilty verdicts for multiple manslaughter and negligence were the first reached in the tragic sinking of the cruise liner carrying more than 4,000 crew and passengers near the Tuscan shore in January 2012. The ship’s captain, the only remaining defendant, was denied a plea bargain and is being tried separately.

Lawyers representing the victims complained that the sentences agreed in the plea bargain – all below three years – were inadequate for the gravity of the disaster.

One lawyer for victims, Daniele Bocciolini, called the sentences “insufficient” and questioned the prosecutors’ hypothesis placing the lion’s share of the blame on Capt. Francesco Schettino, who faces up to 20 years if found guilty.

The Associated Press

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