400 Survivors rescued from ferry disaster

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Over 400 survivors have been pulled from the water, along with 195 bodies, leaving approximately 800 still missing. Tensions are rising between the ferry owners and the families of the passengers, many of whom have been camping out on the dock since the accident. Many are complaining that they have been given very little information regarding the passengers. While details about the passengers are not available, information regarding condition aboard the ferry have been quickly spreading, including reports that there were not enough lifejackets and lifeboats for everyone, and that alarm systems were malfunctioning. The crew has also been accused of ignoring problems.

Witnesses are reporting that a fire started aboard the ferry approximately 90 minutes into the trip, possibly either on the deck where the vehicles were stored or in the engine room. It appears that the fire spread quickly and filled the ferry with smoke. While the crew appears to have contained the fire properly and the ferry most likely had a fire suppression system, excess water was not removed afterwards. This caused the ferry to become unstable as its center of gravity was no longer fixed. Rough winds were then able to knock the ship over in what is known as a Free Surface Effect.