Costa Concordia Captain abandoned ship leaving almost 300 people on board
Washington – An Italian court has heard that a coastguard official aboard the doomed cruise liner Costa Concordia had told its captain, Francesco Schettino, to get back on the ship as he fled on a lifeboat leaving almost 300 people to die in the capsizing vessel.
The phone conversations between Commander Gregorio De Falco and Captain Schettino were played in the court which revealed that about two-and-a-half hours after the impact of the ship with the rocks, Schettino was on a lifeboat claiming that only 10 people were left on board, Sky News reports.
However, De Falco confirmed that the coastguard officials believed between two and three hundred passengers were still on the ship, when Schettino shook off his responsibility and left in a lifeboat.
The ship slowly capsized off the Italian island of Giglio in January 2012 killing 32 people, and Captain Schettino stands trial for manslaughter and abandoning ship.
De Falco also said that initially he had received assurances from officers on board that the ship had suffered a mere black-out, but later a call made to the mainland police by a passenger about the incident raised his suspicions.
The court also heard a conversation between another coastguard official and Schettino, in which the later assured the official that he would stay on board to oversee evacuation.