A black box transcript published by an Italian newspaper indicated that Francesco Schettino, the infamous captain of the doomed Costa Concordia cruise ship, was in fact “saluting” a colleague ashore with a too-close pass when the ship struck a 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 that occurred among 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,” a third officer said.
“The salute” was a maneuver Schettino allegedly agreed to perform to acknowledge a former crewmate on the island.
In a related story, MSNBC describes the David vs. Goliath fight that survivors are waging against Costa Cruises. Six months after the disaster, hundreds of survivors are challenging the settlements the cruise line 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 with what would happen in an airline accident, lawyer John Arthur Eaves Jr., who is representing more than 100 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 that the families of a person lost in a plane crash are offered between $2 million and $5 million.