Italian cruise ship captain detained

3rd survivor rescued, 17 people still missing, say rescue officials

red alert: An Italian firefighter helicopter lifts up a person from the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia which ran aground the off tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, on Sunday. APThe  captain of the luxury cruise that ran aground off the Italian coast has been detained even as a third survivor was rescued by firefighters 36 hours since the incident.

Meanwhile, authorities reduced to 17 from 40 the number of people still unaccounted for, with an Italian who worked in cabin service pulled from the wreckage of the Costa Concordia off the tiny Tuscan island of Grigio.  A South Korean couple on their honeymoon were rescued late on Saturday in the unsubmerged part of the liner when firefighters heard their screams. “Three people are confirmed dead. Six crew members and 11 passengers are yet to be located,” Tuscany’s regional president Enrico Rossi said.

Captain criticised

A French couple who boarded the Concordia in Marseille, Ophelie Gondelle and David Du Pays of Marseille, said  they saw the captain in a lifeboat, covered by a blanket, well before all the passengers were off the ship. “The commander left before and was on the dock before everyone was off,” said Gondelle, 28, a French military officer.

Asked by Sky TG24 about the accusations against Captain Francesco Schettin, prosecutor Francesco Verusio replied, “unfortunately, I must confirm that circumstance.”
“Normally the commander should leave at the end,” said Du Pays, a police officer who said he helped an injured passenger to a rescue boat.

According to the Italian navigation code, a captain who abandons a ship in danger can face up to 12 years in prison. Schettino has said the ship hit rocks that weren’t marked on his nautical charts, and that he did all that he could to save lives. “We were navigating approximately 300 metres (yards) from the rocks,” he told Mediaset television.

He insisted he didn’t leave the liner before all passengers were off, saying “we were the last ones to leave the ship.” But that wasn’t the case. In addition to the three people recovered from on board by rescue crews Saturday night and Sunday, police divers and rescue crews on Sunday circled the wreckage searching for more of the 17 missing.

Crews in dinghies touched the hull with their hands, near the site of the 160-foot-long (50-metre-long) gash where water flooded in and caused the ship to fall on its side. Coast guard officials have said divers would enter the belly of the ship in case anyone is still inside.

It could’ve been worse: Survivor

The fallout of the disaster “could have been worse if the vessel had run aground a few hours later, when most people would have been asleep, or if the ship had been further out to sea,” John Fernandes, an Indian waiter who survived the tragedy, said.

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