A Tale of Two Captains.

ronalawn82(z9FL)January 18, 2012

One was the Captain of US Airways flight 1549 from NYC to Charlotte N.C - Chesley B. Sullenberger. The successful ditching of the Airbus A320-214, with no loss of any of the 155 lives, has been named the "Miracle On The Hudson". I do not wish to detract from the miraculousness of the event, but on October 16 1956, a Boeing 377 was successfully ditched in the Pacific with no loss of life. So a good case can be made that the "Miracle On The Hudson" was the result of training, experience and discipline of the crew of flight 1549. Pan-Am Flight 6 was their sole successful example.

The other was Captain of the cruise ship 'Costa Concordia' - Francesco Schettino. From what I have read, it is a tragedy that never should have been caused. In my opinion it stemmed from lack of training, lack of experience and lack of discipline. I do not not know how many similar maritime incidents had successful outcomes as to be called 'Miracles' (Wikipedia is down) but the 'Costa Concordia' disaster has eerie resemblances to the Titanic disaster. (I saw two movies about it). Then there is the movie "The Poseidon Adventure" which showed, very effectively, the unsurmountable difficulties in evacuating a ship that is no longer on even keel.

There is an adage, "Learn from the mistakes of others. You will not be able to make them all yourself; and it will cost you nothing." (Wikipedia is down).

I believe that the world will miss "Sully" and his generation's ilk. They attended the classes, studied the text books, completed the assignments, learned the tasks and mastered the job. They then put into practice what they had learned - each and every time.

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Wikipedia is "down" in protest of SOPA .. as are many other sites today.

What a bunch of dirty hippies :)

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 8:07AM
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tobr24u(z6 RI)

What is the point of the captain going down with the ship? How could he ever command another one if he is dead?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 8:12AM
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tobr24u, as far as I have heard, the declaration is, "Abandon Ship! Every man for himself!" After that the captain may himself 'abandon ship'.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 8:24AM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

What is the point of the captain going down with the ship? How could he ever command another one if he is dead?

Are you talking about this case or the old naval tradition?

He wasn't expected to go down with the ship. He was expected to stay on board and direct the evacuation until they got everyone they could off the boat. That's part of the job of a ship's crew. He abandoned ship and left passengers behind to fend for themselves.

Have you guys listened to the tapes of the Coast Guard captain yelling at him to get back on board and direct the evacuation?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 8:26AM
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I have heard the tapes. I can't believe he'd even have to be told to do it. He should've known. Cannot believe he refused to return to help. Or that he left before getting everyone off. Not everyone does the right thing, but he'll pay the price dearly.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 8:41AM
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In the news this morning the 'captain' said that he tripped and fell into the lifeboat which must be the most feeble excuse since :the dog ate my homework".

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 8:45AM
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I thought of Sullenberger last night while listening to the story of the cruise ship captain being among the first to evacuate. Sullenberger directed the evacuation, then checked the plane twice for passengers.

I'm not very familiar with the Titanic story, so with Wikipedia blacked out, I'll take your word on similarity.

Stop SOPA!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 8:51AM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

A transcript of the conversation. In spite of telling the Coast Guard that he would return to the ship, the Captain of the cruise ship never returned.

_De Falco: "This is De Falco speaking from Livorno. Am I speaking with the commander?"

_Schettino: "Yes. Good evening, Cmdr. De Falco."

_De Falco: "Please tell me your name."

_Schettino: "I'm Cmdr. Schettino, commander."

_De Falco: "Schettino? Listen Schettino. There are people trapped on board. Now you go with your boat under the prow on the starboard side. There is a pilot ladder. You will climb that ladder and go on board. You go on board and then you will tell me how many people there are. Is that clear? I'm recording this conversation, Cmdr. Schettino..."

_Schettino: "Commander, let me tell you one thing..."

_De Falco: "Speak up! Put your hand in front of the microphone and speak more loudly, is that clear?"

_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)!"

_Schettino: "Commander, please..."

_De Falco: "No, please. You now get up and go on board. They are telling me that on board there are still..."

_Schettino: "I am here with the rescue boats, I am here, I am not going anywhere, I am here..."

_De Falco: "What are you doing, commander?"

_Schettino: "I am here to coordinate the rescue..."

_De Falco: "What are you coordinating there? Go on board! Coordinate the rescue from aboard the ship. Are you refusing?"

_Schettino: "No, I am not refusing."

_De Falco: "Are you refusing to go aboard commander? Can you tell me the reason why you are not going?"

_Schettino: "I am not going because the other lifeboat is stopped."

_De Falco: "You go aboard. It is an order. Don't make any more excuses. You have declared 'abandon ship.' Now I am in charge. You go on board! Is that clear? Do you hear me? Go, and call me when you are aboard. My air rescue crew is there."

_Schettino: "Where are your rescuers?"

_De Falco: "My air rescue is on the prow. Go. There are already bodies, Schettino."

_Schettino: "How many bodies are there?"

_De Falco: "I don't know. I have heard of one. You are the one who has to tell me how many there are. Christ."

_Schettino: "But do you realize it is dark and here we can't see anything..."

_De Falco: "And so what? You want go home, Schettino? It is dark and you want to go home? Get on that prow of the boat using the pilot ladder and tell me what can be done, how many people there are and what their needs are. Now!"

_Schettino: "...I am with my second in command."

_De Falco: "So both of you go up then ... You and your second go on board now. Is that clear?"

_Schettino: "Commander, I want to go on board, but it is simply that the other boat here ... there are other rescuers. It has stopped and is waiting..."

_De Falco: "It has been an hour that you have been telling me the same thing. Now, go on board. Go on board! And then tell me immediately how many people there are there."

_Schettino: "OK, commander"

_De Falco: "Go, immediately!"

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 9:01AM
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De Falco reminds me of Joe Patroni - of "Airport" fame.
Watch this

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 9:22AM
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De Falco is a man who understands the meaning of honor.
Schettino is rat, running away from all his responsibilities and mistakes. No honor there.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 1:09PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Vada a bordo, c@zzo...

De Falco was swearing at him.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 1:23PM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

Spill it Nancy, what did he call him?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 1:28PM
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The call has now become political.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 1:33PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

He didn't call him anything - at least not in the part that I heard, a few minutes less than the six+ minute tape. De Falco used a general expletive to emphasize his anger and the seriousness of the situation. Much like U.S. English speakers using the 'f' word as an expletive.

De Falco clearly wasn't getting anywhere with his many repetitions of Subito! - immediately.

Side note - so easy to understand Tuscans speaking Italian.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 1:43PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Thanks, Ron!

That link gives the various translations of the word in question - from the least offensive to the most offensive.

If the phrase strikes a chord, it's probably because so many Italians have said something similar in exasperation when dealing with an idiota or cretino.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 2:09PM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

I know this is bad but I just can't help it.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 11:36PM
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sniff (throat clear) err yes you could have but who am I to encourage restraint or good taste!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 12:11AM
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Every death could have probably been prevented. How tragic. I can't imagine that this captain won't face manslaughter charges and spend lots of time in prison.

First off, he ran the ship aground, which means that the boat was never going to sink. If they had known the ship wasn't going to sink, and stayed on the ship above board, no one would have died. Evacuation could have been handled in an orderly manner. However, passengers were told to go back to their cabins, and some who did ended up below the water line.

Truly, I can't imagine this captain being less of a leader. And apparently his crew of officers was just as derelict in their duties. Amazing.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 11:33AM
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This disaster reminded me very much of the sinking of the Oceanas back in the early 1990's-off the coast of south Africa. The captain and most of the crew left first and some of the ship servants and entertainers helped with the evacuation-very hairy helicopter stuff as I recall. That Captain claimed he had left to coordinate the rescue as well. I wonder what happened to him?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 1:53PM
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