When passengers left their cabins, they were told not to worry, it was an electrical problem. “All of a sudden there was a big thud, a scraping sound and then a thud,” Jim Salzburg told ABC affiliate WLS. There were “people running up and down the stars panicking, people passing out, nobody there to help,” said Mary Jo Salzburg. “So we just figured, we have to do this on our own.”
Jim Salzburg said the ship’s captain “should be responsible for those people that died,” and that he should “absolutely” face criminal charges.
Authorities in the port of Livorno seemed to believe the captain had abandoned ship with passengers still on board, a report in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra suggests.
An Italian Coast Guard official swore in frustration at the captain of the stricken Costa Concordia after the ship hit rocks Friday night, ordering him at least 10 times to return to the cruise liner and coordinate rescue efforts, a transcript of the conversation published Tuesday shows. Italian prosecutors confirmed that the quotes match ones in a transcript they were using in their investigation. The dramatic conversation was published as the captain faced a court hearing to determine whether he remains in jail while the investigation continues, and as divers continued desperate attempts to find survivors.
He is under arrest and may face charges that include manslaughter, shipwreck, and abandoning a ship when passengers were still on board. He could face up to 16 years in prison.
The blame for the wreck was squarely on the captain; he had deviated from frequently traveled routes.
“The captain decided to change the route and he went into water that he did not know in advance.” The cruise operator has said Capt. Francesco Schettino strayed from the ship’s authorized course into waters too close to the perilous reef. The navigational version of a “fly by” was apparently a favor to the chief waiter who is from Giglio and whose parents live on the island, local media reported.
A judge is to decide Tuesday if Schettino should stay jailed. Prosecutor Francesco Verusio called Schettino’s maneuver “reckless” and “inexcusable.”
Schettino, who joined the company in 2002, was promoted to captain in 2006 and never had a prior accident, according to Pier Luigi Foschi, chairman of Carnival’s Italian unit, Costa Crociere SpA.
The captain is “shattered, dismayed, saddened for the loss of lives and strongly disturbed,” Schettino’s attorney, Bruno Leporatti, said in a statement yesterday.
Schettino didn’t return to the ship and took a taxi on Giglio before being arrested, media including Sky TG24 said. He is accused of manslaughter and abandoning the Costa Concordia when passengers were still on board “since we know he was in the harbor about midnight,” Francesco Verusio, chief prosecutor in Grosseto, said in a Jan. 15 interview. He is also accused of causing the accident that left at least six people dead.
I have questions.
Should the Captain be jailed?
Is he at fault for the accident?
If the accusations are true; was he justified in his actions?
If the ship was sinking, does he have an obligation to help with rescue efforts?