Concordia - Moldovan dancer to be quizzed

2012-01-26 22:33

Gigilio Island - A prosecutor probing the Italian cruise ship disaster said on Thursday he wants to question a Moldovan dancer who has emerged as a key witness and has staunchly defended the embattled captain.

"Yes we are trying to find her and to hear from her," Francesco Verusio told journalists.

Domnica Cemortan, a dual Moldovan-Romanian national, was reportedly at captain Francesco Schettino's side when the Costa Concordia struck rocks off Giglio Island and pitched on to its side on January 13.

Schettino has been under house arrest since January 17, and is being investigated on allegations of multiple manslaughter, abandoning ship and causing a shipwreck.

Cemortan, 25, said she was on the ship as a passenger but helped with the rescue due to her experience of working on cruise ships and knowledge of Russian.

She has denied reports of a romantic involvement with the 52-year-old captain or that she dined with him after the accident and has called him a "hero" who should be thanked for saving lives.

"I am ready to give testimony to make the investigation objective," the ballerina told AFP in Moldova last week.

"I live at my mother's and am not hiding because there is no reason to. Neither the prosecutors nor the Italian police have been looking for me," she said.

Rescue workers have found 16 people who were killed in the disaster and 16 are still officially missing.

- SAPA
Read more on:    costa  |  italy  |  cruise liner disaster
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