September 7, 2012
Italy's La Stampa newspaper says it has obtained black box recordings, on which Captain Schettino can be heard asking the officer in command of the ship's engine room: "So are we really going down?" Cruise Critic has been unable to independently verify the information in La Stampa's report.
Then three minutes later, reports La Stampa, Schettino told passengers that the ship had simply suffered a power cut -- despite knowing it had hit a rock and was taking on water.
Costa Concordia sank in January off the island of Giglio, Tuscany, with the loss of 32 lives.
According to La Stampa, the black box recordings also reveal that seconds after the collision at 9.45 p.m. Schettino is heard saying: "Madonna what have I done?" And at 10.02 p.m. he calls the Italian coastguard saying: "We've had a blackout, we're just evaluating... at most we're going to need a tugboat." He continued to resist calls from his officers to give the abandon ship warning until 11.19pm.
As the evacuation was taking place, Schettino is heard making a call to his his wife to tell her that everything was "under control," reports La Stampa.
He told her: "We hit a reef, the ship is listing but I performed a great manoeuvre ... everything is under control," he said, but added: "My career as a captain is over."
Schettino then fled the ship before all the passengers had been evacuated, claiming he had "tripped" into a life boat.
Schettino faces a number of charges including manslaughter, abandoning ship and failing to communicate with maritime authorities. The next court hearing takes place on October 15.
--by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor