Black box recordings from the ill-fated liner the Costa Concordia were published today by the Italian newspaper La Stampa. The transcripts show a confused bridge lead by a captain who one moment lamented his actions, the next praised his heroism.
"Madonna, what have i done (Maro' ch'aggio cumbinato)?" Capt. Francesco Schettino cries moments after his ship hit a reef at 9:45 on the evening of Jan. 13. The ship was to list over and partially sink, with the loss of 32 lives. The tapes show that he waited, despite pleas from his crew, over an hour before giving the order to abandon ship.
"Say that there has been a blackout," he's heard telling an officer on the bridge at 9:54. Schettino refused to allow the passengers, or the harbor, to know they'd hit a reef - at 10:30 an officer asks to give the abandon ship order but he says "let's wait" - and did not give that order until 10:51.
Schettino takes Costa Concordia near shore
Much earlier in the sailing, as they left Rome, Schettino tells officers on the bridge: "Let's go to salute the Giglio island." He has since denied he gave any such order but the transcripts reveal that he gave the order to go in close to Giglio to salute a former colleague who was retired and living on the island. The ship hit the reef some 300 meters offshore and remains there today.
Other utterings the tapes reveal include his 9:56 call to the emergency center of Costa Crociere, the owner/operator of the ship, telling the crisis coordinator there, Roberto Ferrarini: "Roberto, I fucked up!" He also tells Ferrarini he passed "close by and I hit shallow water with the stern."
And at 11:08, 17 minutes after giving the order to abandon ship he called his wife Fabiola at their home in a small town near Naples. "Fabi', my career as a captain is over. We hit a reef, the ship is listing but I performed a great maneuver (and) everything is under control," he tells her. "Don't worry, let's forget all this sailing and we can start another job."
Schettino is charged with multiple offenses in the tragedy, including manslaughter and abandoning ship. His next hearing is Oct. 15 and he awaits his trial at his home, unable to stray farther than the nearby town.