The captain of the capsized luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia has been accused of performing a pre-planned stunt advertised on Facebook, which led to the disaster leaving 6 people dead, 42 others injured and 25 still unaccounted for.
Captain Francesco Schettino, 52, has been alleged to have planned the dangerous stunt of sailing extremely close to the reefs and rocks of Isola del Giglio, as a salute to the ship's head waiter Antonello Tievolli, reported the Telegraph.
Minutes before the cruise ship ran aground, the waiter's sister Patrizia Tievoli posted on Facebook: In a short period of time the Concordia ship will pass very close. A big greeting to my brother who finally get to have a holiday on landing in Savona.
Credit: The Telegraph
Since the cruise ship met with the tragedy, a fake Facebook page in Italian for Francesco Schettino 'comandante' Costa Concordia has been set up, where people were seen venting their anger against the reckless attitude of the captain who played with the lives of thousands of people.
Italian newspapers have reported that Tievolli is tormented by a sense of guilt even though he maintained that he didn't request the captain to sail close to his home island.
His father, Giuseppe Tievoli, 82, who is a resident of Giglio, said: Antonello called me earlier to say the ship would be passing by the island at around 9:30 and they would come and give us a whistle to say hello. It was something they often did.
The ship obviously came too close. I don't know if Antonello asked the captain to come near, but the responsibility is always and only the captain's, Giuseppe said.
The boat's owners, Costa Cruises, said in a statement on Sunday, Preliminary indications are there may have been significant human error on the part of the ship's Master, Captain Francesco Schettino, which resulted in these grave consequences.
The route of the vessel appears to have been too close to the shore, and the captain's judgment in handling the emergency appears to have not followed standard Costa procedures, the statement said.
According to Giglio mayor Sergio Ortelli, Many ships pass by Giglio to salute the island's inhabitants with a whistle. It is a beautiful spectacle to watch the illuminated ship from land. This time things went badly, daily La Repubblica quoted Ortelli as saying.
Captain Schettino, who was arrested and imprisoned on Saturday, is due to appear before a magistrate at Grosseto on Tuesday. He maintained that the ship was 300 meters from the shore during the accident and that the rocks were not marked on his nautical charts, which caused the error in judgment.