Concordia cruise ship captain left ship, ordered to go back (+ video)
Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino was ordered out of a life raft and told to get back on the sinking cruise ship, according to a transcript of a Coast Guard radio exchange
The Italian coast guard pleaded in vain for the captain of the capsized Italian cruise ship to return on board to oversee the evacuation but he refused, according to what a leading Italian newspaper said was a recording of the conversation.
Captain Francesco Schettino is in jail, accused of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship.
The audio recording, on Corriere della Sera's website, reflected the chaos and confusion in the minutes after the Costa Concordia hit a rock off the Tuscany coast on Friday night and keeled over. Six people were killed and 29 are still missing.
A Coast Guard official on Giglio, the island where the ship hit a rock, said he could not confirm the authenticity of the tape and said the Coast Guard did not give it to the newspaper. There was no comment available from the captain's lawyer.
The recording is full of background noises such as radio static, beeps and background noises of other people and confusion.
The recording says in part:
Coast guard to captain (who has already left the ship):
"There are people who are coming down the ladder on the bow. Go back in the opposite direction, get back on the ship, and tell me how many people there are and what they have on board.
"Tell me if there are children, women and what type of help they need. And you tell me the number of each of these categories. Is that clear?!