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Coast Guard to Italian captain: Go back aboard!

January 18, 2012 • Business


A scuba diver recovers a body from the cruise ship Costa Concordia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. Italian media say five bodies have been found aboard a cruise ship capsized off the coast of Tuscany, raising the official death toll to 11. Teams have been searching the ship for passengers and crew missing since the Costa Concordia struck rocks Friday evening and capsized. Rescuers exploded four holes in the hull of the ship earlier Tuesday to gain easier access to areas that had not yet been searched. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

ROME (AP) — “You go on board! Is that clear? Do you hear me?” the Coast Guard officer shouted as the captain of the grounded Costa Concordia sat safe in a life raft and frantic passengers struggled to escape after the ship rammed into a reef off the Tuscan coast.

“It is an order. Don’t make any more excuses. You have declared ‘Abandon ship.’ Now I am in charge.”

The dramatic recording made public Tuesday shows Capt. Francesco Schettino resisted orders to return to his ship to direct the evacuation, saying it was too dark and the ship was tipping perilously.

The exchange came to light as the death toll nearly doubled to 11 after divers pulled the bodies of four men and a woman, all wearing life vests, from the wreckage. Some two dozen people remain missing.

The Costa Concordia had more than 4,200 passengers and crew on board when it slammed into the reef Friday off the tiny island of Giglio after Schettino made an unauthorized maneuver from the ship’s programmed course — apparently to show off the luxury liner to the island’s residents.

Schettino has insisted that he stayed aboard until the ship was evacuated. However, the recording of his conversation with Italian Coast Guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco makes clear he fled before all passengers were off — and then defied De Login to read more

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