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Published on Thursday, January 19, 2012

I tripped into the lifeboat, says Costa Captain

The captain of the Costa Concordia has reportedly claimed that he tripped and fell into a lifeboat during the evacuation.

According to Italian press reports, Francesco Schettino told a judge during a preliminary hearing that the ship was at a 60-70 degree angle when he tripped and ended up in one of the lifeboats.

He said the Concordia was listing so badly he was unable to climb back on board, despite orders from the coast guard.

The ship ran aground when it hit rocks off the Tuscan coast on Friday with 4,200 passengers and crew on board.

The death toll currently stands at 11 with 21 people still missing. Rescue attempts had been called off yesterday morning as the capsized vessel slipped again, but they have now been resumed.

It has emerged that a five-year-old girl and her father are among those still unaccounted for. Her mother has appealed for the search to continue.

Meanwhile, one of the bodies found on the vessel has been identified as crew member Sandor Feher, a 38-year-old Hungarian violinist. He was reportedly last seen helping crying children into life jackets before returning to his cabin to get his violin.

While denying abandoning ship, Schettino admitted responsibility for crashing into rocks near the island of Giglio when he sailed close to the island to salute a retired captain Mario Palombo.

He reportedly told the judge: "I don't know why it happened. I was a victim of my instincts."

He also claimed his saved the lives of many passengers by grounding the vessel close to the shore after it struck the rocks.

Schettino has been freed from custody and placed under house arrest.

by Bev Fearis

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  • Big Picture or not it is still so sad.

    To be honest my comment was probably based more on my nearly 2 years of experience living and working on cruise ships. Believe me, my thoughts are with all the people on that ship, crew and passengers alike. When you sign up as staff you are aware of the potential risks and trained in what to do in an emergency but musicians, entertainers, casino and shop staff have limited emergency duties, and in a situation such as this it is hard for anyone to stay calm and focused on others. I do hope something positive comes from this, even though it seems to have been an avoidable situation (only time will tell) but it will be little comfort to the families of those lost.

    By Vanessa Wallace, Sunday, January 22, 2012

  • The Big Picture

    A rather passionate previous comment perhaps based predominately on media coverage which for the most part seems to have given little thought or humane regard for the 1000 'working' crew (most of whom appear to have performed their emergency support function to the best of their ability in such frightening and quite unimaginable circumstances). While there will be operational issues to be investigated and responsibility apportioned as well as industry best practices to be learned and shared, some good will eventually come from this tragedy.

    By M B, Friday, January 20, 2012

  • So Sad

    My thoughts go out to those poor people who thought they were having a safe, relaxing and memorable holiday but lost their lives due to 1 mans incompetence and even more so their families left behind. Hungary should be very proud of Sandor Feher, obviously a very talented, compassionate and heroic man.

    By Vanessa Wallace, Friday, January 20, 2012

  • Astonishing!

    If this whole story were not such a catalogue of incompetence, negligence and ego, this news item would be hilarious

    By Catherine Chetwynd, Thursday, January 19, 2012

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