London: A ballet dancer, who was on board the Costa Concordia that ran aground off the Italian coast last week, has come forward to support the captain of the capsized luxury cruise ship, saying he saved at least 3000 lives.
Domnica Cemortan, 25, said she was on the bridge translating Capt Francesco Schettino’s orders for Russian passengers during the frenzied evacuation.
She defended Schettino and crew members against the criticism of a chaotic evacuation, saying they saved thousands of lives, and said the captain ‘was a hero’.
“I stayed on the bridge in case the captain needed me to (translate) ... there were about 20 more officers, cruise directors and the captain,” The Herald Sun quoted Schettino, as saying.
According to the report, Cemortan was allegedly dining with the captain of the doomed cruise ship.
Italian prosecutors said Schettino, who is married, may have been distracted from his duties by trying to impress the dancer.
An Italian passenger claimed he witnessed the captain enjoying a dinner of prawn cocktail, shrimp pasta and grilled fish, accompanied with a decanter of red wine, in the ship`s finest restaurant, the Concordia Club, on the night of the disaster.
Cemortan, however, said it was not her.