Sunday, 28 May 2023

British tourist describes how he survived terrifying capsize on holiday yacht

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A British tourist has said he first realised his holiday dive boat was capsizing when he saw fish outside his window instead of the sky.

David Taylor was on board the Carlton Queen, a vessel carrying keen divers around the Red Sea, when it began to tip over and sink three weeks ago.

Since then, a video has appeared online showing desperate passengers trying to climb a near-vertical deck, jumping into the sea from the side of the boat, and clinging to their beds as they float on the water surface.

David, 53, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘I knew something was wrong when I could see fish swimming outside my cabin room’s window.’

The architectural technician from Nottinghamshire was one of 15 Brits on the ill-fated boat, among a total of 26 guests.

Remarkably, everyone on board survived the ordeal – including the nine crew members – with none requiring hospital treatment, according to reports.

David said: ‘We were shouting for help and heard crashing above us and had this deep-seated feeling of dread that something terrible was happening.

‘When we realised we couldn’t escape by the stairwell and no one had come to help us, it felt awful.’

The descriptions of the incident offered by some of the passengers who were on board the craft clashes with the interpretation offered by its owner, Carlton Fleet.

A GoFundMe page created by German survivor Dominic Schmitt says six of the divers were trapped inside the sinking boat for almost half an hour.

He wrote: ‘Our passports, given to the captain at the beginning of the voyage to evacuate with him in an emergency, were of course nowhere to be found.

‘They are somewhere in the Red Sea…if one day you come across a dolphin with a UK passport, you know where he got it.’

Speaking about ‘the company’, he added: ‘Instead of sending doctors they send lawyers, instead of providing help, they tried to spread fear among us and instead of taking responsibility for what had happened, they did not even show up to a meeting in which they initially told us to provide a compensation offer.’

However, Carlton Fleet told Scuba Diver magazine they had covered medical expenses and accommodation and had offered to pay more for the inconvenience.

A statement said: ‘Unfortunately, the company’s offer fell on deaf ears, and certain guests engaged in negotiation tactics and resorted to threats to strong-arm the Carlton Fleet into paying them larger amounts, notwithstanding their signature of releases and liability waivers, and the charterer’s clear instructions that they procure insurance for loss or damage to equipment and belongings prior to boarding the boat.’

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