Cruise liner’s captain claims he fell overboard

Search halted as vessel’s hull keeps shifting

GIGLIO, Italy - The saga of the stricken cruise liner Costa Concordia took further twists yesterday, with a warning from Italy’s environment minister that it could sink and news that the captain claimed he had slipped on deck and tumbled overboard to wind up in a lifeboat during the panicky passenger escape - and had not abandoned ship as accused.

The captain’s newly disclosed account of the Costa Concordia’s final moments afloat as it lurched heavily to starboard with a rip in the hull, reported by the newspaper La Repubblica, came as Italian divers were forced to suspend their rescue efforts in the gurgling underbelly of the half-submerged $450 million vessel because it had shifted on its rocky perch for the second time in three days.

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