More Bodies, More Troubling Stories about Cruise Ship Captain

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ROME — More than two dozen crew members and passengers remain unaccounted for following Friday’s tragic Italian cruise liner accident and rescuers continue to look for survivors despite the rough conditions that forced them to halt their rescue efforts until the conditions passed.

The Italian news agency ANSA reported that another five bodies were located Tuesday, raising the confirmed death toll to 11, with 29 people still unaccounted for.

The Costa Concordia, piloted by Capt. Francesco Schettino, was carrying more than 4,200 people when it hit a reef off the Tuscan island of Giglio.

Allegations continue to mount against the captain of the cruise ship, heard in a recording making excuses for leaving the ship, according to the Associated Press. In a telephone conversation, the Italian coast guard official berates the captain while he was in a lifeboat and orders him to return to the ship.

Others report the captain was drinking at the ship bar just before the disaster. Prosecutors are expected to charge him with manslaughter claiming the tragedy was caused by the captain’s “inexcusable” manuever close to the island, possibly for the benefit of the ship’s head waiter.

Just minutes before the disaster, the head waiter’s sister on the island of Giglio posted a Facebook message saying, “In a short period of time the Concordia ship will pass very close. A big greeting to my brother!”

Officials say some 500,000 gallons of fuel on board the ship could leak into the sea. Teams are constructing a protective barrier around the ship as a precaution.

“For a person who was born by the sea to see something like this; when I think of it, I get goose bumps,” Angela Rum, an Italian tobacco shop keeper said.

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