5 More Bodies Found On Costa Concordia

by
ryan
Five more bodies were pulled Tuesday out of the crippled cruise ship off Tuscany, and a shocking audio emerged in which the ship's captain was heard making excuses as the Italian coast guard repeatedly ordered him to return and oversee the ship's evacuation.

Italian Navy divers recover a body from the Costa Concordia, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. Italian media say five bodies have been found aboard the cruise ship capsized off the coast of Tuscany, raising the official death toll to 11. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Five more bodies were pulled Tuesday out of the crippled cruise ship off Tuscany, and a shocking audio emerged in which the ship's captain was heard making excuses as the Italian coast guard repeatedly ordered him to return and oversee the ship's evacuation.

Prosecutors have accused Capt. Francesco Schettino of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning his ship before all passengers were evacuated during the grounding of the Costa Concordia cruise ship Friday night.

The death toll nearly doubled to 11 on Tuesday when divers located five more bodies, all of them adults wearing life jackets, in the rear of the ship near an emergency evacuation point, according to Italian Coast Guard Cmdr. Cosimo Nicastro. He said they were thought to have been passengers.

Prior to the discovery of the five bodies, the coast guard had raised the number of missing to 25 passengers and four crew. Italian officials gave the breakdown as: 14 Germans, six Italians, four French, two Americans, one Hungarian, one Indian and one Peruvian.

But there was still confusion over the numbers, and the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin listed 12 Germans as confirmed missing.

The Costa Concordia was carrying more than 4,200 people when it hit a reef off the Tuscan island of Giglio when Schettino made an unauthorized deviation from the cruise ship's programmed course, apparently as a favor to his chief waiter, who hailed from the island.

Schettino has insisted that he stayed aboard until the ship was evacuated. However, a recording of his conversation with Italian Coast Guard Capt. Gregorio De Falco that emerged Tuesday indicates he fled before all passengers were off — and then resisted De Falco's repeated orders to return.

"You go on board and then you will tell me how many people there are. Is that clear?" De Falco shouted in the audio tape.

Schettino resisted, saying the ship was tipping and that it was dark. At the time, he was in a lifeboat and said he was coordinating the rescue from there.

De Falco shouted back: "And so what? You want to go home, Schettino? It is dark and you want to go home? Get on that prow of the boat using the pilot ladder and tell me what can be done, how many people there are and what their needs are. Now!"

"You go aboard. It is an order. Don't make any more excuses. You have declared 'Abandon ship,' now I am in charge," De Falco shouted.

Schettino was finally heard agreeing to reboard on the tape. But the coast guard has said he never went back, and had police arrest him on land.