Testimony: Hundreds still on board as captain left Costa Concordia

Story highlights

  • Captain of Costa Concordia abandoned ship with hundreds still on board, according to testimony, evidence
  • Information from Captain Schettino was unreliable and hindered rescue efforts, witness says
  • Schettino faces manslaughter charges as 32 people died in the 2012 shipwreck

Capt. Francesco Schettino abandoned the cruise liner Costa Concordia after it wrecked in 2012 while hundreds were still on board, according to testimony and recorded phone calls played in a court in Grosetto, Italy, on Monday.

Gregorio Di Falco of the Livorno Port Authority, the man who repeatedly ordered Schettino to get back on board, told the court he initiated rescue efforts on his own after distressed passengers called police. He didn't wait for a distress signal from Schettino, whose information was inconsistent, he said.

In phone calls played in court, Schettino said from a life boat that only a dozen people were still on board the ship, when the coast guard had reported hundreds. Schettino later adjusted his numbers saying it was indeed 200 to 300.

Schettino faces charges of manslaughter, causing a maritime disaster and abandoning ship with passengers still on board. He denies wrongdoing.

The cruise liner capsized after it struck rocks off Italy's Giglio Island in the Tyrrhenian Sea in January 2012, killing 32 of the 4,200 people on board.

Schettino's trial is expected to continue for several weeks.

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