Costa Concordia: Footage Shows Captain Schettino's Reaction As Ship Sank (VIDEO)

Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 11/02/2012 19:47 Updated: 11/02/2012 20:38

Previously unseen footage of the chaos on board the Costa Concordia after it crashed into rocks, killing 17 people, has emerged.

The video was broadcast exclusively on Italy’s TG5 news and reveals Captain Francesco Schettino on the bridge of the luxury liner, speaking on the telephone and seemingly oblivious to the confusion around him.

Crew members are heard pressurising the 52-year-old to officially evacuate the vessel as they begin to don life jackets in panic.

One officer shouts “What do we do?” as Schettino calmly continues his conversation, the Independent reported.

Around three quarters of an hour before the official “abandon ship” orders are given, one official is heard to say “Passengers are getting into the life boats on their own”, to which a man believed to be Schettino replies “vabbuo”, which translates as “whatever”.

The captain refuses to give the official orders to abandon ship for a further 15 minutes, a delay which experts say cost many their lives.

Italian investigators have demanded TG5 news hands the footage over.

Schettino was commanding the ship, carrying 4,200 people, of which 15 are still missing, when it ran aground off the Tuscan coast on 13 January.

He is being investigated for suspected manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning the vessel before all its passengers were evacuated.

Schettino has remained under house arrest since the incident and the ship remains partially submerged off the coast of Giglio.

The married father-of-one is also mired in a romantic controversy after he was reportedly spotted drinking and dining with a 25-year-old blonde dancer just before the shipwreck.

Domnica Cemortan has been linked to Schettino as far back as a month before the tragedy, after a picture of the pair enjoying a meal of oysters emerged in Italian gossip magazine Chi.

A fortnight ago, Cemortan reportedly told investigators she was “in love” with the 52-year-old. The 24-year-old had initially denied any romantic involvement with him, but reportedly admitted her feelings after divers found her lingerie in his cabin.

Other items of her clothing and a makeup bag were also found among his belongings, the Times said.

She told Italian newspaper La Stampa: “Yes, it’s true. I am in love with Captain Schettino.”

According to the Daily Express, Cemortan was questioned by Italian prosecutors investigating the disaster for more than five hours before she made her comments.

She reportedly told them: "I was on the bridge because I was in love with the captain. I found him charming and fascinating. I love him.

"I was on the bridge as his guest. It's not right that his image is being destroyed."

But in an interview with Oggi magazine published this week, she denied the claims.

She said: "They are all lies. I wasn't born yesterday. The information was put out to put pressure on the captain. They want to isolate him, even from his family.

"I never said to magistrates 'I love Schettino'. They say they've found my bikini in his cabin. What have they found on this bikini that connects it to me? Was my name written on it, was there my photograph, or my DNA?"

Officials plan to remove about 500,000 gallons (2,400 tons) of heavy fuel from the Costa Concordia wreckage, but that has been delayed by rough seas and bad weather.

Once the fuel is withdrawn, the massive ship will be broken into pieces and taken away – a process that could take many months, AP reported.

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View of the Costa Concordia taken on January 14, 2012, after the cruise ship ran aground and keeled over off the Isola del Giglio, last night. Three people died and about 70 were missing Saturday after an Italian cruise ship with more than 4,000 people on board ran aground and keeled over, sparking scenes of panic. AFP PHOTO/FILIPPO MONTEFORTE
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