I posted the transcript in Headlines earlier but it doesn’t do justice to the audio. Take four minutes and listen as a man turns his surname into a byword for cowardice under pressure at sea. Supposedly he was in a lifeboat while this was happening, but WaPo says otherwise:

Captain Francesco Schettino told the coast guard the evacuation was nearly finished when it had barely started, according to the transcripts. He also claimed he was on the ship despite having escaped over rocks near where the liner had crashed and caught a taxi to take him away from the scene, according to two Italian newspapers.

He wasn’t the only one who put himself first. While some passengers behaved heroically, crew members were spotted leaping into lifeboats while people ran around screaming on deck. The current death toll stands at 11 with 23 still missing. And all because, supposedly, Schettino wanted to do a favor for the head waiter by making a close pass of his home island.

He’s under house arrest as I write this. Even if he avoids prison, I don’t know how he’ll function in society now that this clip is going viral. It’s a “mortal sin,” said one maritime union official to Fox News. “Unforgivable.” Exit question: Where are our Benjamin Guggenheims?

Tags: cruise