A black box transcript published by an Italian newspaper indicated Francesco Schettino, the infamous captain of the doomed Costa Concordia cruise ship, was in fact “saluting” a colleague ashore with a too-close pass to shore when the struck and reef and sank in January.
The ship was carrying 4,229 people from dozens of countries when it struck the rocks and slowly keeled over, prompting a chaotic nighttime evacuation. Thirty-two people died. Schettino left the sinking ship while frantic passengers were still trying to escape.
The transcript, published by the Corriere della Sera newspaper, reveals the dialogue between officers immediately after the trouble began.
“Our ass is dragging along the seabed!” one officer yelled.
“What did we hit?” Schettino asked.
“It was the salute that he wanted,” said a third officer.
“The salute” was a maneuver Schettino allegedly agreed to perform to acknowledge a former crew mate on the island.
In related news, an MSNBC describes the David vs. Goliath fight that survivors are waging against Costa Cruises for financial restitutions.
Six months after the disaster, hundreds of survivors are challenging the settlements that Costa Cruises has offered.
By the terms of the ticket agreement, passengers who want to challenge the $14,500 settlement offer have to do so in an Italian court. Liability for loss of life is limited to $75,000.
That amount is incredibly low compared to what would happen in an airline accident, Attorney John Arthur Eaves, Jr., who is representing more than a hundred Concordia survivors, told MSNBC.
“They’ve offered the people $14,000. That would include their tickets, that would include their property and that would include all their future problems that they have received from this thing. I think that’s disrespectful and I believe it’s horrible to the value of life,” Eaves said, noting the families of a person lost in a plane crash, are offered between $2 and $5 million.