GIGLIO ISLAND, Italy (AP) — Survivors of the capsized Costa Concordia are commemorating the second anniversary of the grounding off Tuscany that killed 32 people with a candlelight march on Giglio island and a moment of silence in the courtroom where the captain is on trial.
Relatives of the dead also threw a wreath into the sea Monday and attended a Mass in the island's church that had welcomed in hundreds of passengers on the cold night of Jan. 13, 2012 when the Concordia slammed into a reef and capsized.
"I am here for my sister," said Madeleine Soria Molina of Peru, whose sister Erika Fani Soria Molina was among the crewmembers killed. "It is a way to be with her again, because the death of a member of your family — of a brother or sister — it is hard to get over it."
On the mainland, judges and survivors alike stood in silence inside the theater-turned-courtroom in Grosseto where Capt. Francesco Schettino stands accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the Concordia before all passengers had been evacuated.
Passengers came from as far away as Russia and Britain to attend the hearing, but it was adjourned almost immediately after the commemoration because of a lawyers' strike. Schettino, who didn't attend the session, has said he's innocent and saved lives.
Residents of Giglio, meanwhile, are finally seeing the end of their ordeal, with June set as the date to remove the hobbled wreck from the island's port. They received a boost in spirits in September when salvage crews pulled off an unprecedented engineering feat to right the 115,000-ton, 300-meter (1,000-foot) -long liner in preparation for it to be towed away.
"Definitely (this anniversary) is something that takes us back to that terrible night, even if today we are looking at this anniversary ... with a light that is a little bit different," Giglio Mayor Sergio Ortelli told The Associated Press. "Today we are looking forward optimistically to what will be the final operation."