Concordia investigation widens beyond ship's captain

Concordia investigation widens beyond ship's captain

The investigation into the cause of the Costa Concordia disaster has widened beyond its captain.

Seven more people are being investigated by prosecutors including employees of the ship's operator Costa Cruises, according to Italian media.

The new suspects are said to be four of the Concordia's other officers and three employees of Costa Cruises.

The ship's captain Francesco Schettino has already been accused in Italy of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship before all those aboard were evacuated. He denies wrongdoing.

His first officer, Ciro Ambrosio, is also under investigation, reports said.

Costa said it had "complete faith in the judicial system" and had offered its "fullest collaboration" with the Italian authorities.

The company said it had "complete trust and solidarity" in the seven people, "being absolutely confident in their professional competence and ethical correctness".

They had "performed their duties with the highest professionalism and dedication in the hours following [the disaster]", Costa added.

This came as a further eight bodies were discovered in the wreck of the vessel, bringing the death toll up to 25 out of 32 people reported missing after the ship carrying 4,200 people hit rocks off the Italian island of Giglio on January 13.

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