CHISINAU, Moldova – The blonde tour representative whose beauty allegedly sparked the sinking of the Costa Concordia gave her first newspaper interview Sunday "to set the record straight" about her relationship with the doomed ship's captain.
Domnica Cemortan said she was flirting with Captain Francesco Schettino on the bridge before the ship struck rocks Jan. 13, The Mail on Sunday reported.
The newspaper said it was possible that the smitten captain may have been trying to impress the 25 year old when the ship crashed, as early reports had suggested.
Cemortan revealed that she shared a passionate kiss with 52-year-old Schettino, but denied that they were lovers.
She said, "They are acting as if I'm some sort of femme fatale, but I don't sleep around. Yes, I was very attracted to Captain Schettino, and he was clearly interested in me. I admit that I had a big crush on him because he was very good-looking and very charming."
Cemortan worked on the ship for three weeks, but when her contract ended, she bought herself a ticket for the remainder of the ill-fated cruise. She claimed that her belongings, found in Schettino's cabin, were being stored there as a temporary measure.
"I admit that I was attracted to him, but honestly, we did not have sex," Cemortan said.
However, she went on, "He was always respectful when I was a member of his staff, but once I was a passenger, then it was different. I think we probably would have ended up in bed, eventually, but I never found out because of the crash."
She maintained that the disaster, believed to have killed 32 people, was a "tragic accident" and said that people who accused Schettino of being "Captain Coward" were "looking to find someone to blame."
Schettino remains under house arrest at his home near Naples on suspicion of multiple manslaughter and abandoning ship. He faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted.