Witness claims Francesco Schettino waited an hour before giving the order to abandon ship after the cruise liner ran aground

The captain of the Costa Concordia, Francesco Schettino, waited an hour before ordering people to abandon the doomed ship, a trial has heard.
A radio operator on board the ship told an Italian court how Mr Schettino delayed rescue calls after the cruise liner hit rocks off the coast of Giglio in January this year, resulting in the deaths of 32 people.
Flavio Spadavecchia described how he “waited and waited” for Schettino to give the order so that he could alert coastguards but it never came, holding up the rescue operation as a result.
“Schettino never gave me the order. The pan pan message was never sent because Schettino never gave me the order. I asked if I should send it but Schettino said no. I asked at least once, maybe twice.
“I approached the bridge and he just signalled to me ‘no’ – if I am not mistaken he was on the telephone at the time.”
Mr Spadavecchia told the court how the order to abandon ship was not given until more than an hour after the Costa Concordia had struck rocks.
Meanwhile, the police on shore were receiving telephone calls from worried passengers onboard the ship.
Mr Spadavecchia claims Schettino eventually gave the order after hearing “a conversation between officers on the bridge and coastguards on the mainland in Livorno and Civitavecchia”.
Mr Schettino is currently on trial accused of multiple manslaughter, abandoning his ship while passengers and crew were still onboard and causing a maritime disaster.

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