Costa Captain: I Fell Into A Life Raft
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Another day, another version of the story from the captain of the Costa Concordia who reportedly abandoned ship after it slammed into submerged rocks off the coast of Tuscany last Friday and partially capsized.
Originally Francesco Schettino insisted that he stayed aboard until the ship was evacuated.
However, an audio recording made public Tuesday made it clear he fled before all passengers were off — and then defied Italian Coast Guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco’s repeated orders to go back.
“Listen Schettino,” De Falco can be heard shouting in the audio tape. “There are people trapped on board. … You go on board and then you will tell me how many people there are. Is that clear?”
But Schettino resisted.
“I am here with the rescue boats. I am here. I am not going anywhere. I am here,” he said. “I am here to coordinate the rescue.”
The latest version from Schettino is that he didn’t intentionally abandoned ship, rather he tripped and fell into a life boat.
CBS News reports that according to La Repubblica Schettino told a judge during questioning on Tuesday that he was trying to help evacuate the passengers when he accidentally fell into a life boat.
“I didn’t even have a life jacket because I had given it to one of the passengers. I was trying to get people to get into the boats in an orderly fashion. Suddenly, since the ship was at a 60 to 70 degree angle, I tripped and I ended up in one of the boats. That’s how I found myself in the lifeboat,” said Schettino. “Suspended there, I was unable to lower the boat into the sea, because the space was blocked by other boats in the water.”
The Telegraph reports an off-duty captain, Roberto Bosio, who just happened to be on the Condordia was the person who actually gave the order to abandon ship after it capsized. He called Schettino’s actions disgraceful. Bosio is a captain for one of Concordia’s sister ships, the Serena. It is understood that Bosio was person who coordinated the rescue efforts, working alongside crew members into the night.
The Costa Concordia had more than 4,200 passengers and crew on board when it slammed into submerged rocks after Schettino made an unauthorized maneuver.
Schettino remains under house arrest. Criminal charges including manslaughter and abandoning ship are expected to be filed by prosecutors in coming days. Schettino faces 12 years in prison for the abandoning ship charge alone.
Search operations on the crippled Costa Concordia off the coast of Tuscany were called off indefinitely on Wednesday after the ship shifted on its rocky ledge.
Italian rescue crews said the shifting of ship created deep safety concerns for the divers and firefighters who were scouring the ship above and below the water for 22 people, including a couple from Minnesota, who are still missing.
The fear is that the massive vessel – almost 1,000 feet long – might slip off the rock ledge it’s resting on and plunge into deep water.
Doral base Carnival Corp., the parent company of Costa Cruises, estimated that preliminary losses from having the Concordia out of operation at least through 2012 would be between $85 million and $95 million, along with other costs.
Shares of Carnival, which is the parent company of Costa Cruises, slid $4.73 in U.S. trading Tuesday, down to $29.55 in afternoon trading which is down 13.8 percent. The stock was trading at the low end of its 52-week range of $28.52 to $48.13.
The company said it has insurance policies for both damage to the vessel and personal injury liability for third parties. But there is a $30 million deductible on the damage policy and $10 million deductible on the personal injury policy.
Carnival said other costs related to the grounding can’t yet be determined.