Costa Concordia: Was Francesco Schettino drinking with dancer Domnica Cemortan?
DOMNICA Cemortan is the 25-year-old Moldovan dancer and interpreter for Russian passengers alleged to have been drinking wine with Costa Concordia Captain Francesco Schettino the night the ship went down with loss of life.
Domnica Cemortan says he was with the captain on the bridge of the Costa Concordia.
Cemortan works for Costa Cruises, the ship’s winners, but was on holiday to celebrate her birthday.
The company spokesman, one Clarence Mitchell (who he?) said:
“The woman who on the evening of the accident appears to have dined with Captain [Francesco] Schettino had regularly embarked on the vessel in Civitavecchia. Costa Cruises is ready to provide the authorities with her identity and the details of the ticket she bought.”
Passenger Angelo Fabbri, from Savona, says he saw Captain Schettino in the Concordia Club restaurant at 9.05pm on the evening of the accident. The menu – prawn cocktails, pasta with shrimps and a fish grill – was going down well, allegedly. Says Fabbri in Genoa’s Il Secolo XIX newspaper:
“Schettino, in a dark suit, was sitting in front of the woman. She seemed young. At first, we thought it was his daughter. A pretty woman, 35 or 40 years old, slim, with shoulder-length blonde hair, with a black dress with open arms.”
The knives are out for Captain Schettino. Every detail paints a picture:
“They were laughing. There was trust between them, great happiness. There is no doubt they were drinking at least a whole decanter. The last drop was poured into the captain’s glass.”
How many glasses in a decanter?
“They left the table crossing the room single file, walking between the tables: first Schettino, then the woman and finally the third diner.”
Three of them?
Pier Luigi Foschi, the chairman of Costa Cruises, has said Schettino did not drink. Captain Schettino told the investigating magistrate that he had not drunk alcohol on the night the boat ran aground.
Says Ms Cemortan in Moldova’s Advarul newspaper:
“I was at dinner with friends, at 9.30pm. I climbed on to the deck and translated information provided by the officers for Russian passengers. The Russians were the first passengers evacuated.”
Forget women and children first. The Costa Concordia cry is “Russians first”.
“I left the bridge at 11.50pm and he was there. It was dark. Knowing the ship saved me. Trying to move to the exit, following the fluorescent lights, I could hear all sorts of objects falling. People were screaming. A man had a three-month-old baby in his arms and another had a three-year-old . . . The ship was pitching more and more. When I reached the lifeboat, I thought we were saved. But a large piece of metal began to push the boat. Many people had jumped.”
But not Mr Schettino, who “fell” into a lifeboat along with his number two and number three officers, Dimitri Christidis and Silvia Coronia. Did he leave Ms Cemortan to fend for herself?