Published on Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Concordia captain caught telling crew to sail close to island

Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino was recorded telling crew to sail close to the island of Giglio three hours before it hit rocks and capsized, killing 32 people.

On an audio recording from the bridge, played at his trial, he was heard to say: "Let's get really close to Giglio, I love doing these salutes. Let's go and do this Giglio s***,"  reports the Daily Telegraph.

 Schettino is standing trial for manslaughter and abandoning his ship. He reportedly performed the sail-past to impress Mario Palombo, a sea captain who was on the island that night and with whom he was in phone contact.

The court also heard an audio recording of moments after the ship slammed into the rocks. Schettino called Roberto Ferrarini, the head of the crisis unit of Costa Cruises, the Genoa-based company that operated the ship.

"Roberto, I took the ship past Giglio. Palombo was telling me 'sail close, sail close'. I hit the rocks. I'm destroyed, I'm dead, don't say anything to me."

Another witness, first mate Giovanni Iaccarino, said that the captain put his head in his hands and told the officers on the bridge: "I messed up".

The ship's navigator said Schettino showed "chronic indecision", delaying giving the emergency signal to evacuate the ship.  Later he said he saw the captain had changed out of his uniform and into civilian clothes , allegedly in an effort to blend in with passengers as he attempted to abandon the ship.

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