Costa Concordia: Francesco Schettino, Dimitri Christidis and Silvia Coronia fell into a lifeboat
COSTA Concordia captain, Francesco Schettino, says he was not the last man to leave the stricken vessel because he fell into a lifeboat and against his will and at the mercy of the fates made it to safety with people still on his ship. Schettino had earlier given the order to perform a “inchino” (a sail-by salute) to a former colleague on the island of Giglio, with whom he was speaking on the telephone. This caused the Costa Concordia to hit a rock and 11 people to die – 22 more are missing.
Says Schettino to the La Repubblica from his home at Meta di Sorrento on the Amalfi coast near Naples:
“The route was decided at the departure in Civitavecchia, but I made a mistake on the approach to shore. I was navigating by sight because I know the depths there well and I had done that manoeuvre three or four times before. But this time I ordered the change of course too late and I ended up in water that was too shallow. I don’t know why it happened. I was lost in my thoughts.”
But in this reverie, how did Schettino end up in a lifeboat?
Telephone recordings from the night of the shipwreck feature a coastguard official advising a departing Mr Schettino to “Get the f*** aboard”.
Schettino says he managed to save “thousands of lives”, gave a passenger a life jacket to a customer, and:
“Unexpectedly, seeing that the boat was listing 60 or 70 degrees, I stumbled and ended up in one of those lifeboats. That’s why I found myself there.”
Well, so says La Repubblica. The Corriere della Sera has another version:
“I had no intention of running away. I was helping some passengers get one of the lifeboats in the sea and at a certain point the lowering mechanism got blocked and we had to force it. Unexpectedly, the system reactivated and I, having been knocked over, found myself inside the lifeboat together with a number of passengers.”
And that is how it happened.
And by fluke and accident also in that lifeboat were Dimitri Christidis, the ship’s second officer, and Silvia Coronia, the No 3.
Accidents really do come in threes..
Sergio Ortelli, the mayor of Giglio, takes up the tale of how the three men arrived on his island in their boat:
“My police chief told me that evening that the captain was on the rocks just in front of the boat shortly after 11pm. He was dry. He did not swim.
There were many people still inside the boat. He’s incredible, this man.”
Maybe he walked?