'Divine hand' guided me, says cruise ship captain
The captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, which ran aground off an Italian island with the loss of 32 lives six months ago, claimed yesterday that the disaster would have been much worse had a "divine hand" not guided him.
Francesco Schettino's extraordinary claim came as Italian judges released him from house arrest but said he must remain in his home town of Meta di Sorrento as he waits to go on trial on charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship.
Mr Schettino (pictured) has been accused of gross negligence after sailing the 1,000ft luxury liner into a rocky reef off the Tuscan coast, ripping a massive gash in its hull. But he claimed that rather than being responsible for the 32 dead, he had saved lives with his nautical skills and quick thinking.
"If I had continued on that path the ship's prow would have hit the rock. It would have been carnage," he wrote in a letter to his lawyers.
"A divine hand surely touched my head. There are those who say the impact with the stern was caused because I was suffering from a hallucination.
"What hallucination? It was rather my instinct, my skills, the ability to know the sea and suddenly change direction."
Mr Schettino infamously claimed that he did not deliberately flee the sinking ship, but "tripped and fell" into a lifeboat. (© Daily Telegraph, London)