GIGLIO, Italy (AP) — An Italian Coast Guard official says the captain of the luxury cruise liner that ran aground and tipped over off the Tuscan coast was spotted on land while the evacuation was still continuing.
Coast Guard Cmdr. Francesco Paolillo says officers urged him to return to his ship and honor his duty to stay aboard until everyone else was safely off the vessel but he ignored them.
Paolillo tells The Associated Press “we did our duty” to remind Francesco Schettino of his obligation.
Authorities are holding Schettino for investigation of suspected manslaughter and abandoning his ship among other possible charges. According to the Italian navigation code, a captain who abandons a ship in danger can face up to 12 years in prison.
Coast guard divers searching the submerged part of the Costa Concordia on Sunday found the bodies of two elderly men still in their life jackets, authorities said, raising to five the death toll after the luxury cruise liner ran aground and tipped over off the Tuscan coast.
Divers scouring the bowels of the ship in the murky, cold sea discovered the bodies at the emergency gathering point near the restaurant where passengers were dining when the ship carrying more than 4,200 people hit a reef or rock near the island of Giglio, Coast Guard Cmdr. Cosimo Nicastro said.
The discovery reduced to 15 the number of people still unaccounted for after an Italian who worked in cabin service was pulled from the wreckage Sunday and a South Korean couple on their honeymoon were rescued late Saturday in the unsubmerged part of the liner when a team of rescuers heard their screams.
Costa Concordia cruise ship lying on the coast of the island of Giglio
“We are still searching” for any bodies, “but (also) in the hope that there might have been an air pocket” to allow the survival of others, Nicastro told Sky TG24 TV dockside.
Authorities are holding the Italian captain for investigation of suspected manslaughter and abandoning his ship among other possible charges. According to the Italian navigation code, a captain who abandons a ship in danger can face up to 12 years in prison.
May Lord rest their souls in peace!!!