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Last Updated: Monday, 3 April 2006, 11:37 GMT 12:37 UK
Expats rally round boat survivors
Jason Brett and Lucinda Lamb
Jason Brett and his wife Lucinda Lamb were among the victims
British expatriates in Bahrain are rallying round survivors and relatives of 12 Britons who died in Thursday's tragedy, a Red Cross doctor has said.

Dr Sarah Davidson, part of the Foreign Office's Rapid Deployment team helping in the area, described the community response as "inspirational".

Bahraini officials have revealed the boat which capsized killing 58 people was not licensed for pleasure cruises.

A local priest said there was a lack of counsellors to console the bereaved.

The community's response to the tragedy was one of "shocked disbelief, one of anger, of a sense of wanting to know why," said Dr Davidson.

Asked if the small size of the community had affected efforts to provide help and assistance, she said: "I would say that if anything it has been a real inspiration and strength.

"I cannot stress enough the way that the construction companies have come together to support the families. A small community means that people are being supported. There is a real push to do as much as possible to get over this."

Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells has promised to monitor developments in the Bahraini inquiry.

The family are very upset and distraught. It's a huge tragedy
Ivor Palmer
Friend of British victim Will Nolan

Those on board were celebrating the completion of the World Trade Centre skyscraper in Bahrain's capital, Manama.

The chairman of the Murray and Roberts project, David Evans, was among those who died.

The 56 year old had lived "between Glasgow and Bahrain".

His former wife Julie said: "David and I had been married for 26 years and myself and our two children are devastated by our loss in this terrible tragedy."

Will Nolan, 50, director of the project, also died - while his wife Nicola is reported to have survived.

Jason Brett, a manager for an engineering and architecture company, and his wife Lucinda Lamb, who worked for a property consultancy, were also among the dead. They had two young children, who were not on the boat.

Scott Belch, 33, a civil engineer for the firm Atkins from Redhill, Surrey, and his German wife, Sandy, who married six weeks ago, also died.

Mr Belch's parents paid tribute to their 6ft tall son as a "big loveable bear".

Bahraini policemen stand guard as the search for bodies continues

Survivor Simon Hill, a manager at construction company Murray and Roberts, which hired the dhow, said conditions had been calm before the disaster.

But while in port, the ship "was starting to sway from side to side, causing several people to feel uneasy", he added.

The boat eventually sailed with about 130 people on board. Some 16 or so had decided to leave beforehand, Mr Hill said.

The vessel capsized almost two hours later as it was beginning to return to port.

Mr Hill said some passengers had been pulled onto the upturned hull.

Those trapped inside, below the water line, had tried in vain to smash windows to escape, he added.

'Spiritually comforted'

Many of the British expatriate community attend St Christopher's Cathedral in Manama.

Cathedral Dean, the Rev Alan Heyday, said the community was "doing a wonderful job" in offering support and people were ringing in asking how they could help.

"People mostly need to be quiet and come to terms with what's happened to them, they need to be spiritually comforted," he said.

Messages are being left in a book of condolence at the cathedral.

Graphic based on latest information available




SEE ALSO:
Bahrain boat 'was not licensed'
01 Apr 06 |  Middle East
In pictures: Bahrain boat disaster
31 Mar 06 |  In Pictures
Shipping disasters timeline
03 Feb 06 |  Middle East
Country profile: Bahrain
21 Jan 06 |  Country profiles


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