Victim’s video shows rough waves before boat disaster
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.