Costa Concordia’s captain `jumped-off` to safety from sinking ship
Washington – The wrecked Costa Concordia’s captain, Francesco Schettino, has been accused of abandoning the ship even before all passengers were evacuated.
A trainee officer on board the stricken ship, Stefano Iannelli, told the court that captain Schettino and he jumped to safety on a lifeboat that they found, when the vessel started sinking, Sky News reports.
Schettino had, earlier, insisted that he slipped off the cruise liner, which was already tilting at a 90-degree angle, and fell into a lifeboat.
According to the report, his testimony would now appear to confirm accusations that the captain headed ashore to ensure his own safety, while terrified passengers remained trapped aboard the capsized ship.
Schettino is on trial and could face up to 20 years in prison, if convicted, for manslaughter, abandoning ship and causing the disaster, which left 32 people dead.
The cruise liner had struck rocks and partially sank off the Italy’s Giglio Island in the Tyrrhenian Sea in January 2012.
The ship was righted in September in a major salvage operation, the report added.