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Costa Concordia Captain's Excuse: 'I Tripped'

Captain

First Posted: 01/18/12 08:48 AM ET Updated: 01/18/12 09:22 AM ET

Having had a long weekend to mull it over, one might think the captain of the Costa Concordia would be able to come up with a better alibi.

However, Captain Francesco Schettino, who is being investigated for charges including manslaughter after the Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of Italy on Friday, has offered a rather unconvincing explanation of just how he allegedly ended up leaving his ship.

In a recently released conversation between Schettino and the Italian coastguard, the captain can be heard waffling as the coastguard barks orders to return to the ship to oversee its evacuation, claiming that the vessel was tipping dangerously and that it was too dark. Now, the captain has explained at a hearing just how he ended up ditching the Costa Concordia for the safety of a lifeboat in the first place:

"Suddenly, since the ship was at a 60-70° angle, I tripped and I ended up in one of the boats," Schettino said, according to The Guardian. "That's how I found myself in the lifeboat."

Convenient landing or convenient excuse?

The Telegraph reports that during a three-hour interrogation, the captain admitted steering the ship off-course to salute a colleague:

"It’s true that the salute was for Commodore Mario Palombo, with whom I was on the telephone," Schettino reportedly said.

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Rescuers work on the cruise ship Costa Concordia as lies stricken off the shore of the island of Giglio, on January 17, 2012 in Giglio Porto, Italy. More than four thousand people were on board when the ship hit a rock off the Tuscan coast. At least 11 people have been confirmed dead and another 24 missing. (Laura Lezza/Getty Images)
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Filed by Clare Richardson  |