(ROME) — A trainee officer on board the ill-fated Costa Concordia testified in court that Captain Schettino did not fall off the ship after it hit rocks off the coast of Tuscany almost two years ago, but instead jumped to safety into a lifeboat.
Stefano Iannelli told a Tuscan court that he, too, leapt onto the lifeboat right after Schettino had.
He said that as soon as he, Schettino and the others in the lifeboat set off, the giant ship rolled over and the deck the men had been on sank. He added that the lifeboat picked up passengers in the water on the way to shore.
The trainee officer’s version of events contrasts with Captain Schettino’s who insists he slipped off the ship while organizing the evacuation of passengers. Thirty two people drowned as a result of the crash.
Schettino stands accused of manslaughter and abandoning ship and faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN