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Last Updated: Friday, 31 March 2006, 07:34 GMT 08:34 UK
Eyewitness: Bahrain boat disaster
Wreckage of the boat in Bahrain
The boat reportedly tilted from side-to-side, then overturned
Passengers on a pleasure boat that capsized in the Gulf of Bahrain have described how the boat keeled over without any warning.

More than 50 people - foreigners and Bahraini nationals - are thought to have drowned.

Survivor Khalil Mirza, a Bahraini, told the Associated Press news agency that he alerted the authorities from his mobile telephone.

He said the boat listed as it made a left turn soon after it left the harbour.

One of the passengers saved me. I consider myself lucky
Kungumon Kuzhiyilthekkathil

"People were scared in the water. They were fighting with each other and screaming," he said.

Survivor Kungumon Kuzhiyilthekkathil, an Indian national, told AFP news agency that the boat was sailing slowly when it tilted on one side, then tilted suddenly on the other side and started to sink.

"I was on the second floor when I suddenly fell in the sea," said the 48-year-old, who works for the company that organised the cruise.

"One of the passengers saved me. I consider myself lucky," he said, holding back tears.

Upside down

Abd Ali Muhammad Hassan was in a ship next to the dhow.

"We saw it leaning on its side quickly then it capsized and its lights turned off," he told the BBC.

"We moved backward towards them and managed to save seven of the crew...

We thought that if they try to climb on to our boat, then our boat will also turn upside down
Salman al-Hawaji

"The people we saved were foreigner tourists, not Bahrainis. We asked them about the possible number on the ship and they said they were about 150."

Also on the nearby boat was Salman al-Hawaji.

"We were on a dinner picnic on a boat... and the other boat also were enjoying themselves and we could hear the music and everything was fine," he told the BBC.

"Suddenly, within no time at all, the other boat turned upside down.

"We managed to save around eight people... but we didn't go too close, because we thought that if they try to climb on to our boat, then our boat will also turn upside down. So we were a little bit far from them, but some of them managed to swim to us. "

"We were frightened also. We [thought] there might be something in the sea that we cannot see, perhaps, and something might happen to us."

More details of the Bahrain ferry disaster

Many die in Bahrain boat disaster
31 Mar 06 |  Middle East
In pictures: Bahrain boat disaster
31 Mar 06 |  In Pictures
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03 Feb 06 |  Middle East
Country profile: Bahrain
21 Jan 06 |  Country profiles


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