7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

Agonising search for relatives

PEOPLE packed into Salmaniya Medical Complex into the early hours of this morning, looking for relatives and friends who were on the boat.

Filipina Laila Akino, aged 43, was looking for her brother-in-law Edwin Batacan, but by 2.30am had still not been able to trace or reach him.

She knew nothing of the tragedy until her sister phoned her from the Philippines, having seen it on the news.

"My sister called, crying. I thought my mother had died," she said.

"Then she said can you contact Edwin, today was his party on the boat. She had seen something on TV about a boat collapsing."

Ms Akino said she had been repeatedly ringing Mr Batacan's mobile, but was getting the off tone.

She said Mr Batacan was an engineer for the Atkins company.

Ms Akino said she spoke to one of the survivors at the hospital, who told her that people having dinner on the lower deck were trapped when it suddenly capsized.

An Indian, aged 26, who would not be named, said she was looking for her friend Samir Thorat, a 32-year-old Indian architect for Atkins.

"The last time I heard from him was 9.30pm. He said he was eating on the boat. I was supposed to be on the boat and when he messaged me I felt like I was missing out on the fun," she said.

At 12.30am she and her parents were passing over the causeway and bridge saw a lot of people had stopped their cars.

"I was thinking maybe we could see the boat he was on, so we stopped the car," she said. "People told us a boat had capsized. At first I didn't understand and took it very causally. "When I realised what had happened I called his phone, but there was no answer. I went to his house and knocked on his door, but he was not there.

She had still not heard anything of him by 2.30am this morning.

One pregnant woman amongst the dead and the majority of the dead were Westerners, said one paramedic at the hospital.

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