The captain of the doomed Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia was put under house arrest for manslaughter as the death toll hit 11 with some 20 people still missing.
Schettino, 52, described by the daily Corriere della Serra as the most hated man in Italy, is accused of multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship before all the passengers were rescued. Meanwhile, Schettini denied Tuesday that he had abandoned the ship, as rescue divers found another five bodies in the wreckage, bringing the death toll to 11.
The cruise liner, carrying more than 4200 passengers, capsized near the Tuscan island of Giglio late Friday. Chief Prosecutor Francesco Verusio of Grosseto, a city near the accident, has accused Schettino of making a reckless and inexcusable maneuver that brought the enormous liner so close to shore that rocks tore open the left side of the hull. Schettino said his actions had saved many lives, as the cruise liner was going down near Giglio.
The captain defended his role on the direction of the ship after the collision, which in the captain's opinion saved hundreds if not thousands of lives, his lawyer Bruno Leporatti said. The captain specified that he did not abandon ship, he added.
A tape recording of his conversation with Italian coastguard captain Gregorio De Falco released Tuesday was the latest indictment of the captain's behavior. The recording makes it clear he fled before all passengers were saved.
There are people trapped on board. ... You go on board and then you will tell me how many people there are. Is that clear? the coastguard captain can be heard. The recording indicates that Schettino resisted orders to return to his ship to direct the evacuation.
Schettino has been widely criticized after reports emerged that he ordered an unauthorized sail-by close to the island, which was not on the cruise's itinerary, to please a crew member who hails from Giglio. Costa Crociere, Europe's largest cruise operator, said Monday that the accident occurred as a result of an inexplicable error by the captain and distanced itself from the actions of their employee.