New video footage has emerged of the accused captain of the Costa Concordia disaster, Francesco Schettino fleeing the sinking ship.
In the second day of the trial, Italian prosecutors released a video which appears to show Mr Schettino standing calmly on the deck of the capsizing ship with a lifeboat in front of him.
The footage, which the prosecutors are using as evidence in the case against the 54-year-old skipper, was leaked to the Italian media and has gone viral.
It has not yet been independently verified whether it was the captain.
The court also heard Mr Schettino defend his delayed evacuation call in an attempt to avoid panic, and save lives, he claimed.
“I wanted to get the ship as close to the island as possible. The way it was shaking, had I sounded the seven long whistles and one short one (nautical signal for abandon ship), people would have thrown themselves in the water.
Yesterday, the court heard from Mr Schettino that he was showing off when he steered the ship into rocks off the Italian island of Giglio.
But he said he was not trying to impress a Moldovan dancer who was at the helm with him at the time, but told the court there were “commercial” reasons behind the manoeuver.
It was the first statement Mr Schettino made at his trial and he faces charges of manslaughter and dereliction of duty.
Mr Schettino said he wanted to give passengers a better view of the coastline and salute a retired captain who lived on the island and as a favour to the vessel’s headwaiter who is from the island.
“I was trying to catch three pigeons with one bean,” said Mr Schettino which translates into English as “killing three birds with one stone”.
He also said he often performed so-called “fly-bys” to impress passengers.
The ship’s owners have accused Mr Schettino of making an “unauthorised and unapproved” detour from the Concordia’s set route.
Mr Schettino blamed members of his own team including his helmsman for the incident.
The disaster in January 2012 killed 32 passengers and crew and over 4,000 people were on board.
It was also alleged that the Moldovan dancer, Domnica Cemortan was on the ship as an unauthorised passenger.
She revealed to the court that she was having a secret affair with Mr Schettino.
The 27-year-old previously denied any romantic involvement with the captain despite her baggage being found in Mr Schettino’s cabin.
“I would make my way to his cabin in the middle of the night. It was all very secretive. I had to make sure no one saw me,” she said.
She also told the court Schettino was “like a God on the ship”.
According to AFP, prosecutor Francesco Verusio revealed he was planning to request a 20-year prison term for the captain.
Schettino’s reputation as “Captain Coward” is largely based on his conduct after the crash – just 29 minutes after he had given the order to passengers and crew to evacuate, he left the vessel with hundreds onboard still unaccounted for.
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