Setting Sail on a Dream Vacation
Italy, one of the most beautiful places on Earth, attracts millions of visitors each year. One way to explore this culturally rich land is by going on a cruise. That’s exactly what over 3000 excited people did when they boarded the Costa Concordia, a luxury cruise ship. The captain of this adventure was 52-year-old Francesco Schettino.
The Tragic Turn of Events
On January 13, 2012, as passengers enjoyed their cruise, something went terribly wrong. Captain Schettino decided to bring the ship closer to an island called Giglio, straying from the planned route. He claimed he wanted to give passengers a better view and salute other sailors. Unfortunately, this decision led to a catastrophic collision with a reef known as the Scole Rocks, causing the ship to capsize near Tuscany. This tragic incident claimed the lives of 32 people.
Investigating the Disaster
Italian authorities looked into what caused this catastrophe. They found that the ship was sailing dangerously close to the shore, especially in a poorly lit area, at night, and at high speed. These conditions made the collision almost inevitable.
The Theories Behind the Disaster
Several theories emerged about why Captain Schettino took such a risky action. Some believed he did it to impress a young dancer he was allegedly having an affair with, who was on board. Schettino also blamed miscommunication with the helmsman, but experts said this wouldn’t have prevented the crash. Others pointed fingers at Costa Cruise, suggesting multiple factors led to the wreck.
The Captain’s Shocking Actions
After the ship capsized, Captain Schettino’s behavior shocked the world. He claimed to have “fallen” into a lifeboat, leaving his passengers behind. The Italian Coast Guard Commander scolded him for abandoning ship. Schettino even refused an offer of a dinghy to return to the vessel. He didn’t immediately alert the authorities, wasting crucial time for rescuers.
Captain Schettino’s Guilty Verdict
In 2016, Captain Francesco Schettino was found guilty of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck, and abandoning passengers. He received a 10-year sentence for manslaughter, 5 years for causing the shipwreck, and 1 year for abandonment. He wasn’t present when the verdict was read.
The Drunken Rumors
While there’s no concrete proof, witnesses claimed Schettino may have been drunk when the collision occurred. One passenger mentioned seeing him enjoying a meal with wine shortly before the crash.
Schettino’s Current Status
Schettino appealed his sentence multiple times but eventually exhausted all his options. In 2017, he entered prison in Rome. He’s expected to be released when he’s almost 80 years old.
Controversial Moves After the Disaster
In 2014, a university in Rome invited Schettino to hold a seminar on panic management, two years after the disaster. In 2015, he published a book called “Le Verità Sommerse,” which depicted his experience during the shipwreck. However, this move received widespread criticism as many felt he was profiting from a tragedy that might have been his fault.