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Costa Concordia Disaster: Captain Was With A Woman At The Time Of The Crash: Report

01/19/2012 09:10 am ET | Updated Jan 21, 2012

When the Costa Concordia ran aground Friday, Captain Francesco Schettino was with a Moldovan woman, according to reports.

Domnica Cemortan, 25, a guest of one of the ship's officers, was possibly dining with Schettino earlier in the evening. Though she told Moldovan news that she was having dinner at the time of the crash, Schettino named her as one of the people present on the bridge at the time of the crash, reports The Guardian.

In interviews with Moldovan TV, Cemortan confirmed she was with Schettino that evening, but defended his abilities as captain. "He saved thousands of lives. I think he did an extraordinary job and all the crew is supporting him and think he saved more than 3,000 lives," she said. (Check out her photo here.)

She also defended him to The Telegraph, saying "he is one of the best captains in the company. He is very skillful and experienced when it comes to maneuvering the ship in enclosed spaces, like harbors."

According to International Business Times, she also claims to have helped with the evacuation effort by translating information into Russian.

On her Facebook page, Cemortan said she was born in Chisinau, Moldova, and lives in Bucharest, Romania. But, after it was announced that prosecutors wanted to speak with her, she changed her current city to Zanzibar, Tanzania, reports The Telegraph. It's believed she works for Costa Concordia's owner.

Cemortan said she was able to get off the ship by following fluorescent lines to the exit. Eleven passengers have been confirmed dead, and 21 are still missing. Two of the missing include a Minnesota couple.

Meanwhile, Captain Schettino was placed under house arrest. According to Schettino, he ended up in a lifeboat, leaving the ship, because he tripped.

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