(DER SPIEGEL) — Every new statement made by Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia, makes his behavior seem more peculiar and less believable. His explanation of why he left his sinking ship marks a new low point.

According to Italian newspaper reports, Schettino told the investigating judge that he had accidentally tumbled into a lifeboat and had been unable to climb back on board. He also pointed out that he had selflessly handed his life vest to a passenger.

It is an astonishing claim from a man who, according to prosecutors and the recordings of telephone conversations, left the stricken vessel at an early stage and then refused to obey coast guard orders to return to it.

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