The Costa Concordia’s former Captain, Francesco Schetinno, is battling new evidence today as his trial continues in a small town in Tuscany.
Earlier today, new evidence of Schetinno’s abandonment was presented to the court in a newly surfaced voice recording. The voice recording, played to the court, reveals a conversation between Italian Coast Guard Captain Gregorio De Falco and Captain Schetinno while Schetinno was onboard one of the Costa Concordia’s lifeboats:
Captain DeFalco: “Do you see people in the water?”
Captain Schetinno: “Yes, I scooped up some with my lifeboat,” [He mumbles that there are still 10 people aboard.] “but I cannot see all the ship.”
At the time of this phone conversation, the Italian Coast Guard estimated that there were over 300 passengers and crew still aboard the sinking ship. Many of these passengers were later rescued via a Coast Guard helicopter.
In addition to the introduction of the new phone recordings, the court also heard testimony from Captain DeFalco, who was coordinating the rescue efforts the night of the sinking. DeFalco states that his station first received a distress signal from the Costa Concordia 53 minutes after the Costa Concordia had struck rock. DeFalco continued to state that he repeatedly received reassurances from the officers of the Costa Concordia that the ship was only experiencing a blackout. In his testimony, Captain DeFalco stated that he did not believe the reassurances of Schetinno and his officers.
Later in the evening, Captain DeFalco made contact with Schetinno, who had disembarked the sinking ship in a lifeboat. In his phone conversation, Captain DeFalco ordered Schetinno to climb back onboard the listing ship, take a count of the number of passengers left onboard, and assist in coordinating the rescue effort from the ship. Schetinno did not board the Costa Concordia.
Captain DeFalco’s testimony is the latest development in Schetinno’s trial. Currently, Schetinno faces upwards of 20 years in prison on counts of manslaughter, negligence, and causing a shipwreck.
Header photo: Captain DeFalco arrives at court to testify in Schetinno’s trial. AP.