Costa Concordia captain's hometown comes out to support him

Giuseppe Tito, a politician from the local Mayor’s office, said he had done his duty in helping others. “The captain is a hero,” he said. “The media have got it all wrong. He saved 4,000 lives.”

Don Gennaro Starita, a pastor who has been based in the town on the sun-drenched Amalfi Coast for 25 years, told parishioners that he was “really angry” about the way Schettino had been portrayed…

Many local residents acknowledged that Schettino, 52, may have made a mistake in sailing too close to the shore but claimed that he alone could not be held responsible for the disaster and that he had been made a scapegoat.

One, who did not wish to be identified, said: “Anyone who knows Franco knows that he is a great, great sailor, a great commander and a loyal employee. He is a professional man and would never knowingly have put the lives of his passengers in danger.”