Cruise Ship Captain: I Tripped, Fell Into Lifeboat Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino cops to crashing the ship By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Jan 18, 2012 9:47 AM CST 45 comments Comments Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that run aground the tiny Island of Giglio last Friday, leaves the Grosseto court, Italy, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Alessandro La Rocca, Lapresse) (Newser) – Just when you thought you couldn't get more disgusted with Francesco Schettino, the Costa Concordia captain produces this reason for how he came to leave the stricken cruise ship: As he was assisting passengers, "I tripped and I ended up in one of the boats. That's how I found myself in the lifeboat." And that is his explanation of why he couldn't lead the evacuation, reports the Guardian, citing an Italian newspaper. Schettino also noted that he "didn't even have a life jacket because I had given it to one of the passengers." Once he fell into the boat, after tripping due to the "60- to 70-degree angle" of the ship, he found himself "suspended" and "unable to lower the boat into the sea, because the space was blocked by other boats in the water," Schettino continued. The captain made his explanation during a three-hour hearing yesterday, during which he also admitted crashing the Costa Concordia into the rocks as he sailed close to the island of Giglio to salute a retired captain. "I was navigating by sight because I knew the depths well and I had done this maneuver three or four times," but he mistakenly ordered the turn too late and ended up in shallow water, he said. Click for the latest on the rescue efforts.