Dramatic recording reveals how Captain abandoned ship before passengers and refused to go back when ordered
A dramatic recording has been released apparently revealing how the captain of a capsized cruise liner ignored orders to go back to the ship he had abandoned.
Captain Francesco Schettino Schettino (left) is appearing in court charged with manslaughter, abandoning ship and causing a shipwreck. pic/afp
Francesco Schettino told port authorities everything was fine shortly before the vessel sank, it has emerged. He claimed there was only a "small technical failure" -- but in fact the Costa Concordia had already run aground, according to the timings of the radio conversation obtained by Italian media.
Transcripts of taped telephone conversations released by authorities suggested Schettino was evasive when ordered by a port official to supervise the rescue.
Excerpts of the conversation:
Captain: At this moment the ship is listing. Coast Guard (CG): There are people who are coming down the ladder on the bow. Get back on the ship, and tell me how many people there are and what they have on board. Tell me if there are children, women and what type of help they need. Is that clear? Listen Schettino, perhaps you have saved yourself from the sea but I will make you look very bad. I will make you pay for this. Dammit, go back on board! Captain: Please ... CG: There is no 'please' about it. Get back on board. Assure me you are going back on board! Captain: I'm in a lifeboat, I am under here. I am not going anywhere. I am here. CG: What are you doing, captain? Captain: I am here to coordinate the rescue... CG: What are you coordinating there! Get on board! Coordinate the rescue from on board! Captain: How many bodies are there? CG: I don't know! ... Christ, you should be the one telling me that! Captain: Do you realise that it is dark and we can't see anything? CG: So, what do you want to do, to go home, Schettino?! It's dark and you want to go home?