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Ferry crashes into Cargo Ship?
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Page 1 of 1Total of 9 messages
Posted by:Aug 8th 2003, 07:41:45 pm
KimberlyPastor Neely, one of the four individuals who did not survive last weekend's boating accident, was laid to rest on Friday afternoon in Spanish Wells. We send our regards to his family and friends.
Posted by:Aug 6th 2003, 03:26:55 pm
Fig Tree News TeamToday's Bahama Journal, online at

Survivors Search For Emotional Healing

Hadassah Hall 05/08/2003

Marcia Taylor, a 29-year-old photographer who was a passenger on the ill-fated 'Sea Hauler', wept openly Sunday as she recounted the horrific tale of the disaster at sea early Saturday morning that left four people dead and 25 injured. Ms. Taylor, who was making the trip to Cat Island with her 10-year-old son, attended the first in a series of public counseling sessions at the Hillview Seventh Day Adventist Church on Harrold Road.

She is the one person who is known to have captured graphic images of the tragedy which unfolded when 'The United Star' barge and the 'Sea Hauler' collided.
Authorities and witnesses said a crane aboard the barge fell on the mail boat causing the instant death of some of the passengers.

Passengers aboard the 'Sea Hauler' had anticipated a weekend of celebration leading up to Emancipation Day yesterday. 

Ms. Taylor said she was asleep when the tragedy struck and was awoken by a screaming woman.

"I was just inches away where the crane dropped ... instantly, I grabbed my camera, put it around my neck and made my way to help her," Ms. Taylor said.

But she later added that her first instinct really was to check on her son who was beside here.

"I think that's what really gave me the strength to help everybody else," she told those at the session. "My strength came from the fact that my son was okay.  ...three of my cousins and one of their husbands were stuck under the crane. 

The guys who were trying to help everybody realized they were the last people to help because the crane was so heavy no one could move them."

Saying that the photographs would allow her to truly tell the story someday, Ms. Taylor added that she was grateful that she didn't receive "a scratch."

She was also accompanied by her friend, Elaine Lightbourne, who said she turned down two other invitations to travel to Cat Island because of her fear of being aboard boats.

Little did the young widow know, that she would narrowly escape death on that fateful voyage.

"To actually see people die in front of me, I was inches away from the ladies who died.  We actually lied side by side," Ms. Lightbourne said, giving thanks to God for saving her life.

"I watched the crane coming towards me and I didn't even instinct was to jump over because it seemed like the boat was cut in half.  There was one gentleman who pulled the bench that I was on that moved me.  I thanked him on the 'Sea Link' that they had put us on afterwards, but I didn't get his name.  I need to find him," she added..

"[Because of] the gentleman [who] moved the bench, I am able to be here and see my three sons again.  God allowed him to do that.  I realize that whatever purpose God kept me for is to put Him first in my life.  I realize now that without Him, I am nothing," she said.

By the end of the one-hour period of sharing stories, Ms. Taylor walked to the rear of the church only to find Densil Deveaux, the young man she said saved her life. 

She hugged and thanked the Burns House Limited manager, calling him, "my angel."

Organizers said the grief counseling session was an opportunity for them to provide the emotional assistance victims need to begin the healing and recovery process, although Chief of Psychiatry at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre, Dr. Nelson Clarke noted the poor attendance.

Dr. Clarke said despite how people may feel now everyone involved will react at some point. 

"Everybody who is involved is traumatized in some way and everyone will react differently, even though there will be only a small number of people who are seriously affected who need very serious help," Dr. Clarke said.  "But everyone can benefit from the opportunity to discuss what has happened to them, to share their experience and learn about what the normal and usual reactions are to a trauma of this sort."

The mental health professionals present called on ministers of the gospel to reach out to members of their congregation who have been affected in anyway. 

"I would like to encourage ministers that if they know anybody in their congregation who was involved in the trauma, to seek them out," Dr. Clarke said.  "Find out how they're doing, what's going on with them, to lend a listening ear and to evaluate these persons to see if there is a need for more in-depth help."

He suggested that talking can assist victims to recover from the traumatic experience. 

"Sometimes they are hurting, angry, confused and talking helps to clarify things," Dr. Clarke said. "Talking also helps to release the pain and hurt that people are experiencing.  So we encourage family members to be aware of this and make themselves available to their loved ones who have been traumatized by this experience."

For those who do not seek help, the psychiatrist predicts that they will carry the burden of the trauma for a long time.

"I am hoping that those persons who are experiencing severe reactions would access and get the help that they need and require," he said.

Psychologist Dr. Timothy Barrett noted that such tragedies cause a significant demand on one's coping resources and the psychological trauma will eventually surface. 

"We're not saying that because we're offering this that something is wrong with you; that we think you might go crazy or you are crazy," Dr. Barrett pointed out. "We're not concerned about that at all, so you need not be afraid of coming out and getting help because fear is the one thing that would cause you not to do the things that you need to do for yourself that are good."
He added, "It will stress your system and it will meet you at whatever point you are in life, whether you have everything taken care of or whether you have a significant amount of other stress."

Dr. Barrett appealed to families of survivors to be patient as they move towards the healing process. 

"Families will put pressure on people to get back into normal functions, he told the persons in attendance. 'It's been a week now.  That was last week.  Get back to functioning normal,' but everyone is going to handle this a different way and they are entitled to handle it the way that they are going to handle it.  Just be a listening ear."

He said if family members find that persons onboard the fateful boat are becoming increasingly irritable, depressed and cannot sleep, they should be referred for professional help.

Classifying the incident as a "minor disaster," as something worse could have taken place, Assistant Commissioner of Police Allan Gibson said the police were still attempting to determine just how many people were on the boats and who they were.

"We do not have the proper statistics at this time," Mr. Gibson said.  "There are a number of people who we are trying to get in touch with to be sure that everyone is accounted for."

A second public grief counseling session is scheduled for Thursday at Centreville Seventh Day Adventist Church, where mental health professionals will make available brochures outlining the normal types of reaction to such tragedies and suggesting which types of reaction may require further professional help.
Posted by:Aug 4th 2003, 02:40:54 pm
DonWell, if the cargo ship hit the port side of the ferry, that would indicte that the cargo ship was the "giveway vessel", and should have altered course to pass astern of the ferry....the fact that they may not have been showing any lights only compounds the problem.
Posted by:Aug 4th 2003, 12:56:03 pm
Fig Tree News TeamFerry Captain: Bahamas Crash Unavoidable
Sun Aug 3,10:52 PM ET

By DOMINIC DUNCOMBE, Associated Press Writer
NASSAU, Bahamas - The captain of a ferry boat that collided with a cargo ship said Sunday he didn't see the ship in the dark until it slammed into his port side. Four people were killed and at least 25 were injured.

Ferry captain and owner Allen Russell said he saw no navigational lights and there was nothing he could have done to avoid Saturday's crash.

"I didn't see him," Russell said. "He had no running lights, no navigational lights visible."

Russell's 98-foot Sea Hauler ferry was carrying 194 passengers and seven crew members when it left the Bahamian capital of Nassau in calm waters Friday night, officials said.

It collided about 1 a.m. EST Saturday with The United Star, a 178-foot cargo ship carrying 11 people and cars and cargo.

Four people aboard the ferry died after being pinned under its toppled loading crane. Two were said to be sisters, and witnesses said a third sister survived.

The U.S. Coast Guard (news - web sites) and Bahamian Defense Force airlifted 16 injured victims to hospitals.

Of the 25 injured, 13 were released from hospitals, said Dr. Patrick Whitfield of the government-run Princess Margaret Hospital. Most of the remaining 12 were in fair condition, although one was in intensive care, he said.

Most of the injuries were caused by falls or blunt force from the crane's collapse, Whitfield said. A man's right leg was crushed and had to be amputated below his knee.

Prime Minister Perry Christie called the accident a national tragedy and authorities in the Caribbean archipelago off southern Florida are investigating.

The commuter ferry was on its way to Cat Island, where Emancipation Day celebrations were planned marking the 1834 end of slavery in the former British colony.

Police said passengers anxious to reach Cat Island may have crowded on beyond the boat's capacity, but couldn't say by how much. The captain put the ferry's maximum capacity at 300.

Russell estimated the cargo ship was moving at 9 mph when the accident occurred. The crane toppled immediately, he said.

The crash, which occurred nine miles southwest of Eleuthera Island, also tore away a section of the deck railing.

Though some parts of the crane were rusty, Russell said the crash was the only cause of the collapse.

"The whole boat shuddered and he pushed me for a while," he said.

Afterward, passengers "were screaming and crying, but right then I had to take over the responsibility for safety of the ship and see what part was damaged," he said. "I could have been sinking and I was more interested in checking that out first."

The 63-year-old ferry captain said he has operated boats between New Providence and Cat Island for 18 years without an accident. He estimated the damage to the ferry at $250,000.

The cargo ship captain could not immediately be reached for comment.
Posted by:Aug 3rd 2003, 06:04:28 pm
Fig Tree News TeamFrom

August 03, 2003 - 13:17
Bahamas Collision Kills Four

A cargo ship and a ferry boat have collided off the Bahamian island of Eleuthera, killing four people and injuring at least 16 others, according to the US coastguard.

Rescuers from the coastguard, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Royal Bahamas Police have ended a search for more victims, believing everyone on the two ships was accounted for.

The coastguard initially said six people died in the collision but later amended the toll to four.

16 people were evacuated by helicopter from the scene to medical facilities in the Bahamian capital of Nassau, officials said.

The 98-foot ferry Sea Hauler, carrying about 195 people on its regular route from Eleuthera to Nassau, and the 170-foot cargo vessel United Star collided before 0530 GMT, coastguard spokeswoman Carleen Drummond said.

US Coast Guard units responded to the accident scene from Miami and Clearwater, Florida, and searched the area with ships, an aeroplane and helicopters.

The Bahamas, a nation of about 290,000, is made up of some 700 islands and cays stretching through the Atlantic Ocean from just off Florida's east coast to just north of Haiti.

The United Star took some passengers and crew from the Sea Hauler on board and was towing the crippled ferry to Nassau, the coastguard said.
There was no immediate word on the cause of the accident and Bahamian authorities were investigating, Ms Drummond said.
Posted by:Aug 3rd 2003, 05:58:10 pm
Fig Tree News TeamFrom Sunday's

"As we go to upload today, the nation is numbed by the tragedy that unfolded at sea in the early hours of the morning of Saturday 2nd August in the Bahamas.  The first weekend in August is a bank holiday weekend, marking the anniversary of the freeing of the slaves on 1st August 1834.  It has increasingly become a time when mail boats have special hires with masses of people going to the Out Islands for a weekend of relaxation and fun.  Weekend excursions of overcrowded boats leave New Providence on the evening after work on the Friday and return in the early hours of the morning of the following Tuesday.  Everyone suspects that the ships are dangerously over crowded and ill equipped for transporting people.  They are after all mail boats, and essentially cargo ships.

There have been warnings for years that there needs to be a stricter regime for inter island travel.   The report is that sometime between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. on Saturday 2nd August, the barge United Star, said not to have had its running lights on, collided with the Sea Hauler, a mail boat.  The barge was coming from Cat Island.  The mail boat was loaded with 194 passengers and 7 crew.  Most of the passengers were sleeping on the deck.  The Sea Hauler has a crane on it.  The captain of the Sea Hauler saw the barge coming at the last minute and tried to take evasive action.  The action may have saved lives, since the impact of the hit was on the side near the crane on the mail boat.  The boat did not sink.  But the crane fell over and crushed several people. There are six people reported dead.  There were some 17 injuries.

The police were informed at 1:37 a.m.  The Deputy Prime Minister Cynthia ‘Mother’ Pratt who is responsible for the police was informed at 3 a.m.  She left for the hospital as soon as the injured began arriving and spent the entire morning comforting the crowd that gathered at the hospital.  The Prime Minister was informed later in the morning and he arrived at 9:30 a.m. to be fully briefed.  A review must now be done to see if these reporting procedures are effective. 

The question is: when was the Disaster Preparedness Committee notified?  The emergency services went into action with the hospital calling doctors and ambulances.  The news started to spread and the crowds of weeping and noisy onlookers turned up at the hospital.  The police set up a reception centre at their barracks.

The survivors were brought back to Nassau on the Sea Wind, owned by Bahamas Fast Ferries at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday 2nd August.  The survivors pronounced themselves happy with the way the emergency services performed.  The Minister of Transport Glenys Hanna Martin has appointed a special Committee to investigate the accident and report its findings according to law to the Government.  Special kudos to the United States Coastguard for swinging into action with its helicopters to get people off the boat and into Nassau for treatment.  Of the serious injuries there was one amputation and one person paralyzed from the neck down.  The whole thing just left the country deeply saddened. 
This column wishes to extend condolences to the people of the country on the tragic deaths at sea over the past weekend.  All Bahamians have been deeply moved by the events, and more importantly by the great work that was done by our emergency services in this matter.  There are lessons to be learnt to be sure in this tragedy.  Some lives are shattered forever as a result of what looks like a careless act by some person or persons.  We think that the full weight of the law must be brought against those who are responsible.  But just like the rest of the nation we are in mourning.

There is a Disaster Preparedness Committee that is supposed to swing into action once a disaster of this nature occurs.  Or are they supposed to be involved?  It did not appear that they were very much involved in what happened over the past weekend on the Bahamian high seas. 

Certainly then, we call for an investigation into the effectiveness of the Disaster Preparedness Committee, how it functions and its reporting mechanisms.  It appears that the police and the hospital emergency services were the ones who were running the show, without a specific central person who deals with the event, one person to whom the decisions could be referred and who could decide amidst the chaos.  Perhaps, nothing succeeds like success, so this comment might be much ado about nothing. But one can’t help the feeling that a review is in any case necessary to see if there are not lessons to be learned.  Generally though the Bahamian people and the Government were pleased with the manner in which matters were conducted.
Posted by:Aug 2nd 2003, 06:34:51 pm
greenebudaturday, August 02, 2003

NASSAU, Bahamas — A ferry boat and cargo ship collided in Bahamian waters early Saturday, killing four people and injuring 16 as they were traveling to a holiday celebration, officials said.

Rescuers were searching deep waters for about seven people missing after the accident nine miles southwest of Eleuthera island (search) near the Exuma chain, in the Caribbean archipelago off Florida, local police said.

The U.S. Coast Guard (search) and the Bahamian Defense Force were involved in rescuing survivors, police said.

The Sea Hauler (search) was carrying 194 passengers and seven crew members when it left the capital, Nassau, in calm waters Friday night, Deputy Prime Minister Cynthia Pratt (search) said.

It collided at about 1 a.m. EDT with The United Star, a 178-foot cargo ship carrying about 11 crew members and passengers as well as cars and cargo, she said.

The 98-foot local commuter ferry was on its way to Cat Island, where Emancipation Day (search) celebrations were planned during a three-day holiday weekend marking the 1834 end of slavery in this former British colony.

Though the ferry was only permitted to take 120, police said passengers anxious to get to Cat Island may have sneaked onto the boat.

Four people were killed when they were pinned under a crane that toppled over on the ferry with the collision. None of the victims' identities have been released.

Fifteen people were taken to a Nassau hospital for treatment of injuries that included a fractured pelvis and broken limbs, hospital officials said.

Police planned to escort both vessels to Nassau, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Tony Russell said.

Most of the passengers and crew on the ferry were transported to another boat that was bringing them back to the capital.

About 200 people gathered at the Potter's Cay dock in the capital to wait for relatives or friends they hoped were among the survivors.

"I can't take it," shouted Sheliqua Munnings, 28, who said her mother was on the ferry. "I don't know what happened, if she is all right, I just don't know."

Police were brought in to control the swelling crowd as paramedics stood by in case more survivors needed treatment.

Prime Minister Perry Christie called the incident a national tragedy, and pledged to investigate whether laws were violated.

"We have to focus on the lessons that we can learn from this with a view to effecting whatever improvements are necessary," Christie said.

The Bahamas, with a population of about 300,000, comprises some 700 low-lying islands and more than 2,000 small cays off the coast of southern Florida.

It is one of the wealthiest countries in the Caribbean, with an economy based on tourism and the financial industry.
Posted by:Aug 2nd 2003, 04:47:29 pm
charlieHave not heard anything here on the island but the Bo Hengy looked fine at the dock about an hour ago!
Posted by:Aug 2nd 2003, 03:47:09 pm
hobiecatMy grandmother heard on CNN this morning that a ferry crashed into a cargo ship off of North Eleuthera. Does anyone have any news about this? Was it the Bo Hengy?
Thanks for any news!

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