Captain Gives Lame Excuse For Leaving Sinking Ship: “I Tripped”


capt-francesco-schettino-cruise-captainWhen Letterman’s writers do their Top Ten Captain Excuses for Abandoning the Costa Concordia they’ll be hard-pressed to surpass Capt. Francesco Schettino’s own lame explanation.

According to The Guardian, the cruise liner captain on Tuesday told a court trying to determine whether he should be charged with manslaughter that he left the ship by accident.

“The passengers were pouring on to the decks, taking the lifeboats by assault,” the newspaper quoted him as telling a judge.

“I didn’t even have a life jacket because I had given it to one of the passengers. I was trying to get people to get into the boats in an orderly fashion. Suddenly, since the ship was at a 60- 70-degree angle, I tripped and I ended up in one of the boats. That’s how I found myself in the lifeboat.

“Suspended there, I was unable to lower the boat into the sea, because the space was blocked by other boats in the water.”

In short, the captain says he reluctantly fell to safety due to bad footing at an inopportune time.

The captain did admit grounding the ship while trying to impress residents of an island off the coast of Tuscany with his luxurious $450 million vessel. The Guardian reported that the ship veered off course in order to give “a salute to a retired captain” who lives on the isle. But Schettino maintained that hitting the reef so close to shore saved lives.

Schettino’s explanation comes after an Italian newspaper published audio recordings of a heated telephone conversation between Coast Guard Capt. Gregorio Maria De Falco and Schettino as the captain sat in a lifeboat.

In the audio, Falco berates Schettino: “You go on board! Is that clear? Do you hear me? It is an order. Don’t make any more excuses. You have declared ‘Abandon ship.’ Now [the Coast Guard is] in charge.”

{My West Texas/ Newscenter}


  1. just curious, would halacha allow a jewish captain , in a situation where he either cann no longer help or where he has already left, allow the captain to remain/return to the boat because “a captain goes down with his ship”?

  2. #4,

    How about rephrasing the question, as follows: Being that by law is, “a captain goes down with his ship”, may a Jewish person accept a position as a captain of a ship (when it’s not pikuach nefesh for him), al pi halacha? May a person accept a job they do not intend to fulfil to completion (in this case because it may violate halacha)?