Costa Concordia captain speaks out
WSVN -- The Costa Concordia sits where she fell more than a year ago after hitting a rock off the coast of Italy.
The ship's black box recorded the moments before the crash and the sound of the impact.
The huge gash in her hull led to dozens of deaths and widespread reports saying the captain was at fault and a coward for leaving the ship.
Francesco Schettino: "I have been quiet this time for one year."
But now Captain Francesco Schettino is talking. He says there's another side to the Concordia story that the public needs to hear.
Francesco Schettino: "I am at the disposal of the public opinion to let them understand from my voice what was really happening that night."
Using data from the ship's black box, Schettino explains the red dotted line to the right shows the ship's course he ordered the night of the accident.
He says the ship would have passed a safe half mile away from land but instead, the solid line to the left shows the course the ship took.
Francesco Schettino: "And because of the failure of the bridge team we found ourselves in the position we are off course."
Ship captains do not spend all their time on the bridge.
On that night, Schettino says he was there for a drive by salute to the island of Giglio, a request from a staff member and something not unusual.
Francesco Schettino: "In general you go to the bridge and blow the whistle to wave and say bye bye."
When waves wash up on shore they can leave foam on the water.
Schettino says when he came on the bridge, he noticed foam in the water and knew his ship was in dangerous shallow water.
Francesco Schettino: "When I saw the foam, it's like somebody punch you in the heart."
The ship's black box recorded Schettino ordering a course change.
Francesco Schettino: "Starboard Ten...Hard Starboard."
The ship turned based on the position of the rudder. The green light shows that the helmsman, the man actually controlling the ship's direction, followed the captain's orders.
But when Schettino ordered the ship to turn left, the red light shows the helmsman at first obeyed, but on his own turned right again. So instead of the back of the ship swinging away from the rocks, it crashed into them.
Francesco Schettino: "Why?"
Carmel Cafiero: "Do you have an answer to that question yet?"
Francesco Schettino: "No. No."
Francesco Schettino: "And after that you hear this noise and you say, 'Oh my God! What is going on?'"
Schettino says a simulation by an Italian consumer group showed exactly how the crash happened.
The rock is represented by the dark icon on the left.
Another simulation showed what would have happened if his orders had been followed.
Francesco Schettino: "We could have made maybe damage to a propeller but for sure the integrity of the hull would have been preserved."
Despite that, Schettino is facing possible criminal charges for what he maintains was a terrible accident, not a crime.
Francesco Schettino: "But even now with this evidence, it seems people didn't like to understand."
After time in jail and then house arrest, Schettino is now under what you could call town arrest. He is not allowed to leave Meta, the small seaside town where he has lived since he was a boy."
While the town is charming, it's a difficult grounding for a man who has traveled the world.
For six years Schettino was at the helm of a Costa Crociere ship. The company is owned by Miami based Carnival Corporation.
When the Concordia hit the rock, passengers were at first told there was an electrical problem.
Schettino says he didn't want to cause a panic and wasn't sure of the extent of the damage.
He's been criticized for then taking too long to order the evacuation.
Francesco Schettino: "Now if all of the investigators and everybody that can sit in front of the desk and they can pick up a timetable and they can realize that in deciding to abandon the ship, they could have done better than 40 minutes, I can say nothing."
But Italian authorities believe the captain and some of his crew members are so at fault in the Concordia tragedy, they want them tried for manslaughter.
Carmel Cafiero: "Are you concerned that you could end up going to jail?"
Francesco Schettino: "I am concerned like any human being for that."
Schettino has been painted a coward for leaving the ship after it capsized.
Carmel Cafiero: "I think that the perception is that you saved yourself at the expense of others."
Francesco Schettino: "No. It's completely the opposite and I can prove it."
Tuesday we'll give him the chance to do just that.
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