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Thursday, 19 January 2012

Francesco Schettino tells prosecutors he tripped and fell into the sea, but his prior actions saved many lives

The captain of the doomed Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, told Italian prosecutors on Wednesday that he did not abandon ship and that his actions as the boat was going down had saved many lives, reports Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The newspaper said that Schettino told prosecutors he was at the helm of the Concordia when it ran aground, but that he later tripped and fell into the sea and was unable to get back onto the ship.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press is reporting that Italian prosecutors are looking to speak with a Moldovan woman name Dominica Cermotan who, according to a Facebook post, said she was with Schettino on deck along with other officers and the cruise director. Cermotan defended Schettino when speaking with Moldova’s Jurnal TV, saying he “did a great thing, he saved over 3,000 lives.”

Italian authorities have now identified 32 people who have either died or are missing including 12 Germans, seven Italians, six French, two Peruvians, two Americans as well as an individual from Hungary, an individual from India and an individual from Spain.

On Wednesday, Costa Cruises and Carnival Corporation plc reiterated a commitment to support the Concordia passengers and crew. “I give my personal assurance that we will take care of each and every one of our guests, crew and their families affected by this tragic event.  Our company was founded on this principle and it will remain our focus,” said Micky Arison, chairman and CEO, Carnival Corporation plc in a statement.

According to the statement, Costa has been arranging lodging and transportation for affected passengers and crew members to return home.  Every passenger and crew member or their family is being contacted and the company has offered its assistance and counselling as needed, and will be addressing personal possessions lost on board. Costa has also begun the process of refunding all voyage costs including both passenger cruise fares and all costs incurred while on board. 

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