TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A video shows the terrifying moments a ferry carrying tourists heading to Blue Lagoon in the Bahamas sunk Tuesday at around 10:30 a.m.
Reports said one woman has died and two others are hospitalized following the incident.
Kelly Schissel, a passenger on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas, was aboard the two-tier ferry with over 100 other people heading to Blue Lagoon when she noticed something was wrong.
Schissel said was on the top deck when she heard people “freaking out” and saw water coming into the boat after the boat took a sharp turn.
“Well the Bahamas is off to a fun start… our ferry went down on our way to Blue Lagoon Island,” she wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
Schissel said one of the crew members started crying and grabbing a life jacket, leading to a domino effect of others grabbing life jackets. She added that she had to help calm the crew members and was too upset to know how Schissel could help her.
Schissel said the passengers didn’t jump in the water at first because they were awaiting instructions from the crew, but added that the crew never said anything and were “too busy crying and freaking out.” One crew member was apparently on his phone.
“I also heard that the Captain driving it was laughing because he was showing off and trying to whip the butt-end around and I just don’t think it worked out the way he wanted it to,” Schissel said in the video.
At one point, one passenger jumped out, leading to others following behind him.
Schissel said the current was rough, so people were struggling to stay above water. But Schissel was able to back-stroke against the waves and make it into a rescue boat, which arrived a bit later.
According to local Bahamas news outlets, one woman died. They reported it was a 75-year-old Colorado woman who made it to land and died “as a result of the incident,” but the cause of her death is unknown.
When the rescue boats arrived, they took the passengers back to shore, where they hung around in a pavilion for a headcount.
Once ashore for around an hour, the passengers were given T-shirts, shoes, towels, water, bags of chips, and hot dogs.
Schissel said hours later, passengers got on a different boat and were taken back to the ship.