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0 Comments We Just Assume

Article written by Boris Bozic on the 19 Jan 2012 in Current Events,World Events

From time to time all of us put our faith in people we know nothing about.  We assume that if our life was in danger a police officer would risk their own life to save us.  We assume that if were in a burning building a fireman would navigate the flames of hell to save our life.  We assume that if we ‘re attacked by terrorists our politicians would respond in a way to not only protect us but to extract vengeance as well.  We assume our children are safe in schools because the faculty and staff would do everything humanly possible to protect them.  I only started to think about this after reading about sinking of The Costa Concordia.  It’s only dawned on me now how much blind faith I’m capable of.

 I truly believe, unequivocally, that the vast majority of policemen, fireman and school teachers would do the right thing in a time of crisis.  Politicians? I’m not so sure about.   I think the type of individual who gravitates to these professions are wired in a certain way.  Would you take a bullet to save a family member?  Would you enter a burning building to save a family member?  Of course you would.  But would you do it for a stranger?  Yet policemen, firemen, pilots, captains, conductors have had the mental debate and they’re prepared to do it.  I think on some level we all like to believe we would do the right thing if we faced life and death situations.  But there’s no possible way to know with any certainty unless you’ve faced that critical moment. 

Captain Francesco Schettino, faced that critical moment this week.  The captain of The Costa Concordia is charged with manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship.  It doesn’t get much worse than that for a captain of a ship.  The 4,200 passengers on board his ship put their faith in him and assumed he would do the right thing.  Below is a translated audio transcript of a conversation that took place between Captain Schettino, and Italian Coast Guard Captain, Giorgio De Falco. 

The lesson here?  Don’t ever assume.  Something for me to ponder as I fly twice this week.

—De Falco: “This is De Falco speaking from Livorno. Am I speaking with the commander?”

—Schettino: “Yes. Good evening, Cmdr. De Falco.”

—De Falco: “Please tell me your name.”

—Schettino: “I’m Cmdr. Schettino, commander.”

—De Falco: “Schettino? Listen Schettino. There are people trapped on board. Now you go with your boat under the prow on the starboard side. There is a pilot ladder. You will climb that ladder and go on board. You go on board and then you will tell me how many people there are. Is that clear? I’m recording this conversation, Cmdr. Schettino…”

—Schettino: “Commander, let me tell you one thing…”

—De Falco: “Speak up! Put your hand in front of the microphone and speak more loudly, is that clear?”

—Schettino: “In this moment, the boat is tipping…”

—De Falco: “I understand that, listen, there are people that are coming down the pilot ladder of the prow. You go up that pilot ladder, get on that ship and tell me how many people are still on board. And what they need. Is that clear? You need to tell me if there are children, women or people in need of assistance. And tell me the exact number of each of these categories. Is that clear? Listen Schettino, that you saved yourself from the sea, but I am going to… I’m going to make sure you get in trouble. …I am going to make you pay for this. Go on board, (expletive)!”

—Schettino: “Commander, please…”

—De Falco: “No, please. You now get up and go on board. They are telling me that on board there are still…”

—Schettino: “I am here with the rescue boats, I am here, I am not going anywhere, I am here…”

—De Falco: “What are you doing, commander?”

—Schettino: “I am here to co-ordinate the rescue…”

—De Falco: “What are you co-ordinating there? Go on board! Coordinate the rescue from aboard the ship. Are you refusing?”

—Schettino: “No, I am not refusing.”

—De Falco: “Are you refusing to go aboard commander? Can you tell me the reason why you are not going?”

—Schettino: “I am not going because the other lifeboat is stopped.”

—De Falco: “You go aboard. It is an order. Don’t make any more excuses. You have declared ‘abandon ship.’ Now I am in charge. You go on board! Is that clear? Do you hear me? Go, and call me when you are aboard. My air rescue crew is there.”

—Schettino: “Where are your rescuers?”

—De Falco: “My air rescue is on the prow. Go. There are already bodies, Schettino.”

—Schettino: “How many bodies are there?”

—De Falco: “I don’t know. I have heard of one. You are the one who has to tell me how many there are. Christ.”

—Schettino: “But do you realize it is dark and here we can’t see anything…”

—De Falco: “And so what? You want go home, Schettino? It is dark and you want to go home? Get on that prow of the boat using the pilot ladder and tell me what can be done, how many people there are and what their needs are. Now!”

—Schettino: “…I am with my second in command.”

—De Falco: “So both of you go up then … You and your second go on board now. Is that clear?”

—Schettino: “Commander, I want to go on board, but it is simply that the other boat here … there are other rescuers. It has stopped and is waiting…”

—De Falco: “It has been an hour that you have been telling me the same thing. Now, go on board. Go on board! And then tell me immediately how many people there are there.”

—Schettino: “OK, commander”

—De Falco: “Go, immediately!”


Until next time


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