Captain left ship before passengers

2012-01-15 11:50
Rome - The captain of the Costa Concordia left the stricken cruise liner "well before" the last passengers were evacuated, the prosecutor in charge of investigating the disaster said on Sunday.

Asked on the news channel SkyTG24 whether captain Francesco Schettino, arrested on Saturday for multiple homicide, had left the liner "well before all the passengers were evacuated", prosecutor Francesco Verusio replied: "Unfortunately I can confirm that."

The prosecutor also indicated that the ship "was not on the right course", adding that the captain was on the bridge and "therefore responsible for operations".

He said the possible responsibility of other people apart from the captain and his number two, Ciro Ambrosio, was also being investigated.

Asked whether the crew were not properly prepared, Verusio said "It was rather the system of command which did not function as it should have done."

Italian media reports have said the captain was on shore at about 23:40 (22:40 GMT) on Friday while the last passengers were not evacuated until 05:00 GMT on Saturday.

Ennio Aquilino, in charge of the rescue operation, told AFP on Saturday: "The last person we took off the ship around 06:00 (05:00 GMT) had a broken leg."
Read more on:    italy  |  maritime  |  cruise liner disaster

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