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January 18, 2012

Audio: Coast guard tells ship captain to 'Go on board!'

An officer in the Italian coast guard argued with the captain of a capsizing cruise liner, repeatedly ordering the captain to return to his ship to coordinate rescue efforts, according to an audio recording released this week.

The recording is of a conversation between Capt. Francesco Schettino, commander of the Costa Concordia, and Capt. Gregorio De Falco of the Italian coast guard in Livorno. The Costa Concordia ran aground Friday, and its more than 4,000 passengers had to be rescued. At least 11 people are dead and 29 are missing, according to the latest international news reports.

In the recording, De Falco can be heard introducing himself to Schettino, who was in a lifeboat just below the ship. Here is an excerpt from the conversation, according to a translation by the Associated Press:

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)!"

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