Jan 19, 2012 6:13 AM by Kate Richards
ROME (AP) - The captain of a grounded cruise ship says he ended up in a life raft after he tripped and fell into the water and that he never intended to abandon his ship.
That's in new audio of Capt. Francesco Schettino's communications with the Italian Coast Guard during the crisis Friday night.
According to a transcript published in a newspaper, Schettino told officials "I did not abandon a ship with 100 people on board, the ship suddenly listed and we were thrown into the water."
Initial audio released yesterday had an increasingly exasperated Coast Guard officer ordering Schettino back on board to direct the evacuation. The captain resisted, saying it was too dark and the ship was tipping.
Efforts to find 21 missing people are on hold because of rough seas. Eleven people are confirmed dead.