The investigation and rescue operations are in full swing after an Italian cruise liner capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, Friday, leaving 11 passengers dead and hundreds injured.
Earlier, the transcript of the conversation between the coast guard yelling at the captain, Francesco Schettino, to get aboard vessel and command the rescue operation along with a video was released and now some other interesting details about the captain have emerged.
A view of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground off the west coast of Italy (Reuters)
Former Costa Concordia captain and one other officer who was aboard the ship has accused Schettino of driving the luxury liner like a Ferrari and trying to show-off by seafaring near the Tuscan island for locals.
If I had to make a comparison, we got the impression that he would drive a bus like a Ferrari, Martino Pellegrino, one of the officers on board, told Italy's La Repubblica newspaper.
Furthermore, a former cruise commander and colleague of the captain, Mario Palombo also called him a braggart, a show-off and said that he had to put him (Schettino) in his place more than once earlier as well, when he acted as his deputy on the vessel, La Repubblica reported.
According to the Italian coast guard officials, the captain could have saved several lives, had he ordered the passengers to abandon ship immediately and commanded the rescue operation rather than jumping in a lifeboat to save his own life.
Pellegrino said that even though he (Schettino) was commanding the gigantic cruise in the Mediterranean Sea, with more than 4200 passengers aboard, Capt Schettino was an authoritarian who was often inflexible, in his actions.
I've always had my reservations about Schettino. It's true, he was my second in command, but he was too exuberant. A daredevil. More than once I had to put him in his place, said Palombo.
Another officer, Martino Pellegrino told investigators that the captain ruled with an inflexible authority against which no one could make their voices heard.
The ship has now slightly shifted on its resting place near the Tuscan island of Giglio, following the discovery of five more adult bodies from the rear of the ship near an emergency evacuation point. A total of 23 are still missing.
Captain Francesco Schettino (C) of cruise ship Costa Concordia is escorted into a prison by police officers at Grosseto, after being questioned by magistrates in this still image from a video January 17, 2012.
Captain to Undergo Drug Test
The magistrate in-charge of investigating the case and charges against Francesco Schettino has ordered him to undergo a drug test.
According to the coast guard officials, the ship should have been at least five miles away from the coast and Schettino ran it aground just 150 m offshore, which resulted in the wreck.
In defense, the captain denied the allegations against him, claiming to have saved several lives and saying that he was aboard the ship when it hit the reef and the decision of taking it closer to the shore was to aid the rescue effort.
You try and see if you could get back on a vessel in that condition...You need a helicopter, his lawyer, Bruno Leporatti, said.
Schettino, 52, who was arrested Saturday, has been placed under house arrest and stripped of his command.
In case the charges (for multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship while dozens of passengers were still aboard) prove correct he could possibly face 15-year imprisonment.
The investigation is on and there are many more vital details to follow.
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