China / Society

Survivor recounts fatal boat incident in SW China

By HUANG ZHILING (China Daily) Updated: 2016-06-06 07:48

Lying on a bed in the Lizhou District No 2 People's Hospital in Guangyuan, Sichuan province, Wang Mingxing, one of three survivors of a boat accident, is calm.

But as he recounted the accident that took place at 2:49 pm on Saturday, he was emotionally overwhelmed.

The leisure boat carrying 18 people capsized on Bailong Lake during a sudden, strong storm. One child died; 14 other people remain missing.

"I watched with my own eyes as my friends perished," the 30-year-old said.

At noon, he stepped aboard the pleasure boat Double Dragon on the lake more than 100 kilometers from the city proper. Five families joined him, many of them acquaintances.

"The weather was clear and it was very hot when we came aboard. None of the adults donned a life jacket. Children with jackets took them off after playing awhile in the scorching heat," he said.

After 2 pm, the sky became overcast. Rain followed. Most of the passengers sought shelter in the lower part of the two-story boat.

Wang was tired and stayed on top. He wanted to sleep.

He awoke as he was thrown into the air by an unknown force.

"The boat was turning on its side, so I snatched a jacket and jumped off," he said. "Within about 10 seconds, the nose dived and the boat sank," he said.

Drifting on the water, Wang could see several people bobbing behind him. When he tried to have a second look, they had all vanished.

Wang swam away and was driven toward the shore. He could see two friends swimming to where the boat had sunk, apparently trying to save their wives and children. But a wave swept them both away.

"I had no family members to save," he said. "That might be why I survived."

Eighteen people aged 3 to 49 were aboard when the boat sank, including six women and six children. More than a dozen remain missing, according to Yang Mingguang, deputy chief of the information office of the Guangyuan city government.

Three people including a child were saved by two passing boats. The child died later at a hospital.

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