A dancer who was with the captain on the bridge of the Costa Concordia when the liner crashed with the loss of 32 lives has denied that her presence created a fatal distraction.
Domnica Cemortan, 25, from Moldova, confirmed that she dined with Francesco Schettino, who is under house arrest on suspicion of manslaughter. But any tabloid newspaper hoping for tales of a torrid tryst on the high seas, or a calamitous liaison that led directly to Captain Schettino hitting rocks at Giglio island, were dashed when Ms Cemortan asserted that she shared just one kiss with the officer.
She said she had a serious crush on the married 52-year-old Italian, who she described as "very good-looking and charming", but said they had had no time to start an affair. Ms Cemortan admitted leaving her luggage in the captain's cabin – which would have been difficult to deny, given that divers had already found her suitcase in his quarters. She said this was only a temporary arrangement with Mr Schettino while she waited for a cabin to become free.
She added: "I think we probably would have ended up in bed, eventually, but I never found out because of the crash."