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Cruise ship captain in custody as horror stories emerge

Cruise ship captain in custody as horror stories emerge
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‘Like the Titanic.’

That is what many are saying as the Costa Concordia’s captain is held on suspicion of multiple manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship with passengers still on board.

Officials believe he brought his vessel too close to the island of Giglio. Speaking before his arrest, Francesco Schettino disagreed, saying the rock was not shown on his maritime chart.

“It was marked just as water at some 100-150 metres from the rocks and we were about 300 metres from the shore,” he said in a television interview. “We should not have had this contact.”

But the captain’s actions are being questioned by residents on the mainland nearby.

“We are in the 21st century and with all this technology on the ships, certain things should not happen,” said Augusto Cerulli in the port of Santo Stefano. “I have worked at sea and there is something here that is not adding up. The captain has got into trouble.”

“In my opinion, and I have many friends who are captains, it seems like it was human error,” added fellow resident Giuseppe Narduzzi. “It passed too close to the shore of the island. It should have been much further from the coastline.”

Horror stories continue to emerge with passengers telling of people leaping into the sea and fighting over lifejackets in panic amid a lack of information.

French survivors were repatriated to Marseille but one woman told how her father was not among them.

“The news is bad, because dad’s body has been found, so he’s actually dead and won’t be coming home with us,” she said, fighting back tears.

“I’m very angry about the way things went, because apparently they couldn’t get a life jacket and couldn’t get to the lifeboats. They saw people in yellow jackets leaving before them, and it’s hard to know that the crew members were gone before the people who were on the boat. My father gave priority to women and children, and he didn’t make it.”

The fear is that the full extent of this tragedy has not yet emerged.

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