According to passengers' accounts, chaos ensued that night as guests rushed to fill lifeboats and escape the shipwreck. Some crew members helped passengers and then jumped overboard, passengers said. Remaining crew members seemed helpless to handle the melee.
The case against Schettino centers on several questions, including why it took him more than an hour to issue an order to abandon ship and why the captain allegedly left the vessel before all passengers had abandoned it.
Given the complicated nature of the case, his trial could drag on for a year or more. The prosecutor presented the court with a list of 357 witnesses Wednesday.
Running in tandem with the criminal prosecution are numerous civil suits against Schettino, which can be heard at the same time. This means more than 250 civil parties are also represented in court.
Meanwhile, the Costa Concordia lies half-submerged on its side on the shore of Giglio Island, rusting and rotting in the waters off Tuscany's coast.
Nearly 500 workers are involved in an operation led by Titan Salvage to remove the wreck while protecting the marine environment.
Titan and Costa Cruises said earlier this month that they hope to be able to rotate the vessel to a vertical position in September. They will then be able to assess whether it can be refloated and towed away.