Update on the Ferry Tragedy

Survivors of the ferry tragedy are reporting that the Egyptian captain, Sayyed Omar, had fled his burning ship by lifeboat and abandoned everyone else. He is currently unaccounted for. Some passengers say that crew members on board the Al Salem 98 had even told them not to worry about the blaze below deck. Some even reportedly gave orders to take off lifejackets! 400 people survived the ordeal, but there are still another 800 unaccounted for. The boat had 1,272 passengers and about 100 crew on board.

Survivors say that a fire broke out below deck shortly after the boat left Saudi Arabia on Thursday evening. But the ship continued to sail out into the Red Sea, rather than turning back to port! Adbel Raouf Abdel Nabi, one of the survivors, told the press: “There was a fire but the crew stopped the people from putting on lifejackets so that it wouldn’t cause a panic.” The fire is thought to have broken out on a vehicle of the lower car deck. The crew at first thought they put it out, but it flared up again.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has ordered his government to pay 30,000 Egyptian pounds, or 5,200 American dollars, in compensation to each of the families of the dead and 15,000 pounds to each of the survivors. TDI will continue to keep you updated on this horrific story. (source)

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