The handling of the Costa Concordia wreck was botched from the very start, it seems, as a newly leaked recording shows somebody on the ship reporting its collision with a rock as merely a blackout. But while the latest report shows incompetence or dishonesty on someone's part, it could potentially shift some of the blame from the captain, Francesco Schettino, who already faces charges potentially as severe as manslaughter. There's a chance that the captain didn't make that call, in which you can hear a crew member saying, "we've had a blackout and we're checking conditions on board." Passengers had contacted the shore separately, saying things had fallen on their heads during dinner when the blackout started, the shore operator says in the recording, but the crew member repeats that it's just a blackout. The crew member doesn't identify himself in the recording posted by the BBC, and a Reuters report on the call doesn't identify the caller as Schettino. The Associated Press reports that it's Schettino who made the call, but as CBS points out, the AP does not explain how it identified the caller as Schettino.
Of course, whether Schettino made the call or not, he should have had control over its message. And a new round of reports indicates he might have been a little distracted, as the woman he reportedly had dinner with was apparently on the bridge of the ship when it crashed. The woman, Dominica Cermotan of Maldova, posted a Facebook message defending Schettino's actions, and she told a Moldovan television station that "he did a great thing, he saved over 3,000 lives," the AP reported. But she may be asked to testify against him as a witness for the prosecution