Brit speaks out after surviving 137ft yacht which capsized at 'Egyptian Bermuda Triangle'
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A British dad who survived after a 137ft dive boat capsized in an area known as the 'Egyptian Bermuda Triangle' has described the escape mission that took place during the terrifying ordeal.
David Taylor was asleep on the holiday dive boat the Carlton Queen when he was thrown from his bunk bed, and looked up to see fish swimming outside the window of his room.
He was one of 26 guests on the boat, which capsized on 26 April near Hurghada in the Red Sea for no obvious reason. It quickly started taking on water, forcing those on board to make a quick escape.
"It was horrendous," Taylor, who was with his son on the boat, told The Telegraph. "When we realised we had capsized, we knew we were in trouble, there was something drastically wrong.”
“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.”
Another person on the boat, Mr Suarez Meilla, found Taylor and his son in 'total panic' after making his way into the corridor of the yacht.
Certain they 'needed to get out as soon as possible', the three men crawled along the hallway to find an escape route. Suarez Meilla gave Taylor and his son a leg up so they could get to the top deck, but he had no obvious way to get out himself.
“Fernando had helped us escape, and, this part still haunts me, he told us to leave and instructed us to go… It was so impossibly hard," Taylor said.
The dad was struck on the head by a large metal tank during his escape, but he and his son were thankfully saved when they jumped into the water and crew threw them a buoy.
Meanwhile, Suarez Meilla was able to escape by swimming to the bottom of the boat and finding an open hatch.
He recalled: “I jumped back into the submerged part of the boat and swam 15 metres below the water’s surface, managing to escape that way."
Those who had been onboard lit flares and an alarm was raised to their situation, so another dive boat was able to come and rescue the passengers from the Carlton Queen, which had sunk within an hour. Thankfully, all of those on board survived.
Some of the tourists have now started a fundraiser to help pay for equipment lost at sea, as well as to file a lawsuit against the boat’s owners and the tour company, which allegedly is 'not willing to pay a single cent'.
The Carlton Fleet, which owned the Carlton Queen, commented on the incident in a statement to LADbible, saying: "While we are deeply saddened about the accident, we are relieved by the safe return of all guests and crew members to shore.
"The Egyptian authorities are currently investigating the incident, and our staff members and crew are cooperating with them to identify the reasons for the boat’s capsizing. We will abstain from making statements regarding the cause of the accident until the conclusion of the investigation to avoid misleading the readers."
The company added that the Carlton Queen had been chartered by a scuba diving school when the incident took place, and that it had 'undergone all required maintenance works [and] passed all inspections'.
It added: "Carlton Queen’s crew members followed the safety protocols applicable to the circumstances, leading to the swift evacuation of the boat."
The Carlton Fleet claimed members of staff 'escorted the guests to a hotel and provided them with clothing and any pharmaceutical products they needed' after the accident, and said it covered 'medical, accommodation, and all other expenses relating to the guests'.
The team company said it also offered to pay the guests 'additional amounts for inconvenience before the conclusion of the investigation'.
Major General Amr Hanafi, the Red Sea province governor, told Sky News Arabia the boat had suffered a mechanical failure. The area where the accident took place is known to be a navigation hazard, and is a popular place for shipwreck diving.