Dancer 'in love' with stricken ship's captain
Published 03/02/2012 | 05:00
The Moldovan dancer involved in the Costa Concordia disaster has told Italian investigators that she was "in love" with the captain.
Domnica Cemortan (25), said she was present on the ship's bridge, moments before the vessel hit rocks, forcing it to be grounded.
Divers were reported to have found some of her belongings in Captain Francesco Schettino's cabin.
Reports claim she had fallen for the skipper, even though he had a wife and a teenage daughter.
"I love him and it's not right to destroy his reputation," Ms Cemortan allegedly told investigators.
Passengers have claimed they saw the dancer being wined and dined by Capt Schettino (52) soon before the accident on January 13.
Ms Cemortan told prosecutors the captain invited her on to the bridge to see the ship perform a "salute" for the island of Giglio. He misjudged the manoeuvre, smashing into a rocky shoal, ripping a chunk out of the hull.
He grounded the 950ft-long vessel and belatedly ordered the evacuation of its 4,200 passengers and crew.
The accident killed 17, with 15 people still missing, presumed dead.
Capt Schettino is facing charges of manslaughter and abandoning his ship before passengers and crew. He could face at least 12 years in prison. (© Daily Telegraph, London)