The trial of the captain who ran the Costa Concordia aground is under way, and the early testimony suggests that 32 people died because Francesco Schettino wanted to make good on a favor to a crew member and perhaps impress his lover at the same time. The two big developments:
- Crew member: Ship maitre'd Antonello Tievoli told the court that he asked the captain to sail close to the Tuscan island of Giglio because Tievoli had family there, reports AP. Schettino did so on Jan. 6 but didn't think he got close enough. He ordered his crew to make a closer pass the following week, and that's when the ship hit the rocks and sank.
- Lover testifies: Domnica Cemortan, a 26-year-old Moldovan dancer, confirmed to the court, reluctantly, that she was indeed Schettino's lover, reports the BBC. The two dined together before the crash, and she said the captain asked the crew to slow down so he could have dessert before taking the helm for the pass-by of Giglio. Cemortan accompanied him to the bridge and was with him when the ship crashed. She had two memorable quotes today: "When you are someone's lover, no one asks you for a ticket," and, outside court, "Today, I died a second time."