The captain of the cruise ship, Costa Concordia, which capsized near the Tuscan Islands, has said that the ship veered off course so the head waiter could acknowledge his family.
Captain Francesco Schettino has denied charges of manslaughter, claiming that his dangerous maneuver at the edge of the coast was so the head waiter could salute his family on land, according to MSNBC.com.
Antonello Tievoli, the head waiter reached his father by telephone and promised to salute him as they passed the island of Giglio, where they are from.
According to Reuters, the father of Tievoli said that his son called him and promised to blow the ship's whistle to salute him.
"The ship obviously came too close," Tievoli said. "I don't know if Antonello asked the captain to come near, but the responsibility is always the captain's."
Schettino was detained Saturday on charges of manslaughter and abandoning his ship before all passengers and crew were evacuated. Prosecutors say he refused to go back on board when the coast guard requested it.
Witnesses say that the captain called Tievoli to the bridge, saying "Antonello, come see, we are very close to your Giglio."
Patrizia Tievoli, the waiters sister, posted on Facebook that the Concordia ship will pass very close, just moments before the ship hit the rocks, according to the Telegraph.
"In a short period of time the Concordia ship will pass very close. A big greeting to my brother who will finally get to have a holiday on landing in Savona," Tievoli said in the post.
After Tiveoli reached land safely, he told friends and relatives on Giglio that he would have never imagined the catastrophe that took place.
"I would never have imagined that I'd end up disembarking on my own island like this," he said, according to the Telegraph.
Costa Cruises Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Foschi blamed errors made by Schettino for the accident. He said at a news conference the company would provide its captain with any assistance he required, but didn't take blame away from the captain.
"But we need to acknowledge the facts and we cannot deny human error," Foschi said. "These ships are ultra-safe. It is an exceptional event, which was unforeseeable."
He said the ship deviated from its correct route and Schettino had contravened safety procedures, which the company doesn't condone. Schettino has denied being too close to the coast and says the rock he hit was not marked on charts.