Nation & World News

Woman On Bridge Of Costa Concordia Says She Was Captain’s Lover

By Scott Neuman on October 30th, 2013

A Moldovan dancer who was on the bridge of the ill-fated Costa Concordia on the night that it crashed and sank nearly two years ago has admitted in court that she and the captain were lovers, after having repeatedly denied the rumors in public.

Domnica Cemortan, 26, acknowledged her affair “under intense pressure during cross-examination” in the trial of Capt. Francesco Schettino, according to The Telegraph. Schettino is charged with manslaughter in the deaths of 32 people aboard the ship, which hit a rocky shoal off the island of Giglio on Jan. 13, 2012. He is also accused of abandoning the liner’s 4,200 passengers and crew on the night of the wreck.

The Telegraph says Cemortan:

“[Refused] at least three times to answer the question of whether she and the 53-year-old married commander had had a relationship, prompting Giovanni Puliatti, the judge, to threaten her with criminal proceedings unless she told the truth.

“The hearing had to be suspended while Ms Cemortan’s lawyer explained to her the gravity of refusing to testify.

“After the hearing reconvened, Miss Cemortan reluctantly admitted to prosecuting lawyer Michelina Suriano that she had been having an affair with the captain, telling the court in Moldovan, ‘Yes, I had a relationship with him’.

“Prosecutors say the presence of the dancer on the bridge that night distracted Capt Schettino and contributed to the accident, which cost the lives of 32 people.”

The Associated Press reports Cemortan also told the court on Tuesday that she boarded the Costa Concordia as a nonpaying passenger, saying, “When you are someone’s lover no one asks you for a ticket.” She then dismissed the remark as a joke to her interpreter.

The BBC says that on the night of the disaster, the dancer “had dinner with the captain before he invited her to join him on the bridge as he oversaw what was meant to be a close sail-past” of the island where the vessel ran up on the rocks.

After the ship hit the rocks, Cemortan told the court that the captain had urged her to “save [yourself].”

A week before Schettino’s trial started in July of this year, Cemortan had publicly defended his actions, saying he was not a “coward” and blaming subordinates for misunderstanding his orders and causing the disaster.

“It wasn’t the captain who made the mistake,” she told the Italian television program Pomeriggio 5. “He knew what he was doing, his orders were clear, but the last officer in the chain of command misunderstood to the point that he had to repeat it.”

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Video Purports To Show Beheading Of Japanese Hostage Kenji Goto

The SITE Intelligence group has acquired the footage that appears to show the execution of the Japanese journalist a week after a second Japanese hostage was killed by the group.


Islamic State Blames Coalition Airstrikes For Losing Kobani

For the first time, the extremist group acknowledges its defeat earlier this week in the heavily contested Syrian border town.


A photo provided by Tami Bradley-Two Eagles Balloon Team, shows pilots from left, Troy Bradley of Albuquerque, N.M., and Leonid Tiukhtyaev of Russia, before their liftoff in a gas balloon in Saga, Japan.

Record-Setting Balloonists Touch Down In Mexico After Pacific Crossing

Pilots Troy Bradley and Leonid Tiukhtyaev, dubbed the “Two Eagles,” traveled the farthest and stayed aloft the longest for anyone in a gas-filled balloon.


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaking at a pre-Super Bowl news conference in Phoenix.

All Is Not So Well In The NFL Ahead Of Super Bowl Sunday

Deflategate tops a “tough year” for the league, says Commissioner Roger Goodell. The NFL has also grappled with domestic violence and child abuse claims.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel stands in front of a poster showing a new Two-Euro commemorative coin at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday.

Merkel: No Relaxing Of Terms On Greek Debt

The German chancellor says she wants to keep Athens in the eurozone, but that EU lenders have already made substantial concessions on the terms of the bailout.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments