Fundraising launched as Brits recount terrifying moments of ship capsizing in Egypt’s Bermuda Triangle
A British tourist has recounted the terrifying moments when the ship he was onboard with 25 others capsized in an area said to be known as Egypt’s ‘Bermuda Triangle’. In what was supposed to be a diving holiday for the group last month, the dream trip turned into a “nightmare” when the ship they had been staying on started to sink on Monday, April 24.
Of the group, 16 of them were reportedly British tourists, and their quick–thinking and teamwork helped everyone to make it out alive. Harrowing footage of the incident has now made its rounds across social media platforms as the affected passengers accused the company responsible for the boat, Carlton Fleet, of failing to look after their welfare.
In a series of videos uploaded on Twitter and Youtube, screams can be heard as some throw themselves off into the sea near Hurghada, in the Red Sea, close to the entrance of the Suez Canal. Another video shows the boat slipping into the sea, as the group cling on to their lives before debris can be seen scattered across the waves.
The group is then seen huddling together desperately aboard a lifeboat after which point they are saved and carried to safety. When 53-year-old architectural technician David Taylor from Nottinghamshire woke up to find fish swimming outside his cabin’s window rather than a lovely view of the sky, he knew something was wrong.
Eyewitnesses reported that the 137-foot-long Carlton Queen suddenly started taking in water while the sea was calm and the sky was clear. Mr Taylor and his son, Christian, 21, were stranded below deck; they were only saved because of the bravery of another passenger, who later found himself stuck there as well.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Mr Taylor 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. I had lost the plot, I felt I couldn’t protect my son and I started to panic.”
The man who saved the duo, Fernando Suarez Meilla said he returned to his cabin to charge his camera, only to discover, as the ship began to sway, that his cabin door had appeared where the ceiling had been. After descending into the corridor, he discovered the father and son in a state of panic, but he was able to lead them to an emergency exit.
As they proceeded, they examined each cabin to ensure it was empty, but the hatch’s handle was broken, necessitating an alternate exit. He was eventually able to assist them in escaping, but he became confined below deck in the process. As they left, Mr Taylor slammed his head against a metal tank, causing his brow to bleed profusely. The pair then leapt into the water and floated until they were rescued by a life raft.
Mr Suarez Meilla found every other escape route he attempted to be "impossible" until he dove back through the debris of the drowning ship and swam to safety.
Toby Meadows, a 48-year-old fashion consultant from north London, was on deck when the boat began to sink; he and his brother were fortunate enough to grasp the rails as the vessel began to tilt. Others were not as fortunate and were thrown across the ship and into the water.
Now, the divers are raising funds to replace all of their lost possessions and to initiate legal action against the company, which they allege attempted to coerce them into making false statements to authorities.
On a GoFundMe page, they said: “Some very very basic help was offered, but soon followed lie upon lie. The company made a lot of noise about wanting to help, but in the end it was all of us who did all the work to get the necessary paperwork to be able to travel back home.
“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.
“Unfortunately, our nightmare didn’t stop there. In the days that followed we were left alone with the predicament we were in. By the representative of the company that organised the trip we were threatened, lied to and pressured to make false statements to the authorities - which we of course did not do.
"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.”
The Carlton Fleet, the company responsible for the trip, initially posted a statement on Facebook where they claimed their office “reacted quickly” and that they were helping them all with applications for new passports so they could return home.