A Moldavan dancer testified that Captain Francesco Schettino was a “hero” in the Costa Concordia tragedy. Her testimony is now in question, as she confessed having an affair with the married captain. Domnica Cemortan was on the ship’s bridge with the captain when it capsized.
Cemortan initially denied the affair. After being reminded that she was under oath, she admitted that she and the captain were in a relationship. Schettino reportedly allowed the Moldavan dancer aboard the ship without a ticket.
As reported by NBC News, Cemortan said she has not been in contact with the captain since the ship capsized. Following her testimony, the 26-year-old told reporters that the affair was her personal business and had nothing to do with the trial.
Prosecutors claim the woman’s presence on the bridge distracted Captain Schettino, contributing to the disaster. Cemortan was reportedly standing next to the captain as he steered the ship into a reef.
As reported by The Telegraph, the captain was approaching Giglio island, as he and members of the crew had family and friends on the island. Schettino planned to perform a “sail-past” without stopping. However, the Costa Concordia was steered too close to the shore.
The massive ship was extensively damaged by the reef. The 4,200 passengers and crew panicked when the alarms sounded and the ship began to sink.
Although most of the passengers and crew were rescued, 32 people lost their lives in the disaster. Captain Francesco Schettino received stark criticism for leaving the ship before all passengers were rescued. The captain’s attorneys argued that he “accidentally tripped” and landed in a lifeboat, which carried him to safety.
The Moldavan dancer said Schettino made sure she was on a lifeboat before he left the Costa Concordia. The captain is charged with abandoning ship with passengers aboard, causing a maritime disaster, and manslaughter.
[Image via Wikimedia]