Vic­tim’s video shows rough waves be­fore boat dis­as­ter

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - NATION | WORLD - By Eileen Ng

Thai­land — The fam­ily of a Chi­nese woman and her two chil­dren who were among the vic­tims of a tourist boat dis­as­ter off the Thai re­sort island of Phuket shared omi­nous video of the chaotic scene on the boat be­fore it cap­sized, and said Satur­day they’re de­mand­ing “jus­tice” from the Thai au­thor­i­ties.

The short video clip shows the boat tilt­ing, with rough waves seen through the win­dows. A pas­sen­ger tum­bles down the aisle as be­long­ings fall on the cabin floor, and a voice is heard shout­ing.

Chen Wei, a busi­ness­woman from China’s Chongqing prov­ince, noted that the video sent by her 47-year-old sis­ter, Chen De Qiong, to the fam­ily’s WeChat group just be­fore the boat cap­sized on Thurs­day showed strong waves and pas­sen­gers not wear­ing life vests. She said the di­fied saster was caused by hu­man er­ror and could have been avoided.

“It’s shak­ing vi­o­lently, and I’m feel­ing very dizzy,” Chen De Qiong wrote to her fam­ily. “I want to go ashore im­me­di­ately,” she said in an­other mes­sage, adding that her 12-yearold son, also on the boat, was feel­ing ill.

The body of the daugh­ter, Xing Yu Jie, was re­cov­ered Fri­day. Chen Wei and her brother-in-law Xing Yong ar­rived in Phuket on Satur­day and later iden­tiPHUKET, the body of Chen De Qiong. The son, Xing Hao Ran, was among the miss­ing. Dozens died in the dis­as­ter.

The boat was car­ry­ing 105 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 93 tourists, most of them from China, when it cap­sized and sank af­ter it was hit by 16-foot waves.

“I can hear the voice of my daugh­ter scream­ing,” Xing Yong said while tran­sit­ing at Kuala Lumpur air­port, as he showed the video to an AP re­porter. “You can see that no­body wore life jack­ets.”

Chen Wei said the boat com­pany ig­nored warn­ings of bad weather and failed to take ad­e­quate mea­sures to en­sure pas­sen­ger safety. She said the video showed that glass win­dows in the boat cabin were sealed but they should have had latches so that they can be opened to al­low pas­sen­gers to swim out in an emer­gency.

De­spite rough waves, the boat didn’t stop and kept sail­ing, Chen said.

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