When I first learned of the unfolding Costa Concordia cruise disaster ten days ago, I remember reading a statement attributed to the cruise line stating that the evacuation was proceeding "orderly" and the passengers were "not at risk."
Initially there were no reports of deaths or injuries, but I knew that something was terribly wrong. Elderly passengers are always at risk while transferring from a cruise ship to a lifeboat, even to a tender to shore on a perfectly calm day. How possibly could there be no risk to passengers during during an emergency evacuation at night under these dire circumstances?
We now know that this was just one of many lies to be told by Costa and its captain.
What other statements will long be remembered from the Costa disaster?
"I slipped and fell into the lifeboat" by Captain Fransesco Schettino.
This is perhaps the biggest whopper I have ever heard in my life. It takes great acting skills to deliver such a ridiculous explanation for abandoning a ship you just sank. Being a liar does not erase being a coward. If Schettino really slipped and fell, I offered on Twitter to represent him in a lawsuit against Costa (a bad joke on Twitter I suppose in a time of great sorrow). But If I were his lawyer, I would file for a trademark on the "slipped-and-fell-onto-the-life-boat" phrase for its sheer comedic genius.
What other cruise lies will long be remembered?
"The Situation Is Under Control, Go Back To Your Cabin" says a Costa supervisor to panicked passenger who assembled on deck with their life vests ready to be evacuated. How many of the passengers were deceived by this false information? The most compliant personalities were probably the first to follow these instructions, whereas the cynics didn’t. Did the deferential passengers die in the bowels of the ship?
In an every-man-for-himself situation do the gentle souls die first?
Photo credit: Reuters
Caption credit: Costa Cruise Line