For many Italians one phrase uttered in exasperation captured everything that went wrong and what little that went right when the Costa Concordia luxury liner keeled over off the Italian coast.
As the ship’s captain Francesco Schettino sat safely in a lifeboat and reportedly balked at orders to return to his ship, another captain on shore erupted in angry frustration.
“Get back on board for —-’s sake!” yelled Coast Guard Captain Gregorio DeFalco.
That quote — “Vada a bordo, cazzo” in Italian — is now emblazoned on T-shirts, turned into a twitter hashtag, and made into numerous facebook groups, the largest of which has over 21,000 likes and features photo shopped pictures in which Schettino is made to look like a pirate. The group also features photos of Schettino fleeing the wreckage in various vehicles ranging from kayak to a Jet Ski.
If Schettino is being viewed as the villain in this story, DeFalco is emerging as the hero. That phrase has come to symbolize Schettino’s perceived incompetence and cowardice as well as DeFalco’s sense of duty and courage.
The full text of the heated exchange between the two captains on the night of the shipwreck can be viewed at ABCNews.com.
Schettino remains under house arrest as a court investigate accusations that he abandoned his ship and was responsible for manslaughter.