Francesco Schettino, captain of the infamous Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster, claimed Wednesday that his decision to delay evacuation of the stricken ship may actually have saved lives in the 2012 disaster.
In a second day of testimony at his manslaughter trial, Schettino, 54, was quizzed by prosecutor Alessandro Leopizzi as to why he did not sound the alarm immediately after he hit rocks off the Italian island of Giglio, triggering a disaster in which 32 people died.
The captain, who is also charged with causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship, replied that such a move would have led to a dangerous panic among the 4,229 people on board.
"I wanted to get the ship as close to the island as possible. The way it was shaking, had I sounded the (nautical signal for abandon ship) seven long whistles and one short one, people would have thrown themselves into the water," Schettino said.
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