While the Costa Concordia cruise ship started to sink… while men, women, and children panicked… while lifeboats were lowered and people prayed for rescue… Captain Francesco Schettino sat in a lifeboat and watched. An audio recording has surfaced of the Coast Guard yelling at Schettino to get back on board and oversee the evacuation.
In the exchange, the coast guard says:
“Listen, Schettino. There are people trapped on board… You climb on that ladder and go on board the ship. Go on board the ship and get back to me and tell me how many people are there… 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!”
Reuters reports that there were more than 4,000 people on board the Costa Concordia. So far, 11 people have been confirmed dead while another 24 are still missing.
Here’s a video of the exchange. (Reuters notes that a Coast Guard official on Giglio could not confirm the authenticity of the tape. The official said that the coast guard did not give it to the newspaper Corriere della Sera, where it first appeared.)
The Guardian reports that a passenger of the Costa Concordia remained on the ship in order to help out with the evacuation. The passenger said:
“I remained on board until 5am helping passengers leave. Although I asked for the officers I couldn’t find one – and I never once saw the captain,”
Captain Francesco Schettino was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and is currently in prison. A regional parliamentarian who visited Schettino in the jail, quoted him as saying: “The voice of my conscience cries out the loudest of all.”