Yacht capsize survivors seek legal action against Carlton Fleet

Legal action is being planned by passengers who narrowly escaped death when the yacht Carlton Queen capsized during a diving trip in the Red Sea. The survivors, including British, Belgian, Swiss, and German nationals, do not believe the vessel was seaworthy, as it had been visibly listing to one side after leaving Egypt. The boat’s size had been increased during a recent refurbishment. Carlton Fleet, the yacht’s owners, informed the BBC that the matter is currently under investigation.

On April 24, there were 26 passengers on board the Carlton Queen when it capsized. David Taylor, from Treswell in Nottinghamshire, and his son Christian feared for their lives when they found themselves trapped below deck. “I started to lose the plot. I really was panicking we were going to die. There was no way to get out,” David said.

David and Christian, along with Spanish passenger Fernando Suarez Mella, tried and failed to open an escape hatch. The boat’s position on its side made it impossible for them to walk up a set of stairs. Christian managed to escape by climbing up his father, who then escaped by climbing up Fernando. With no one left for him to climb on, Fernando potentially sacrificed himself. “This for me was the hardest part of the escape because Fernando looked up at me and he said ‘You’ve got to go’,” recalled David.

David decided to speak out about the incident to raise awareness and warn others. “We missed so many indicator signs that things were wrong,” he explained. “A few of our group did approach the captain with their concerns, and they were told numerous things but not to worry.” He questioned why a newly refurbished boat would capsize in calm waters.

Carlton Fleet stated, “The Egyptian authorities are conducting an investigation into the matter. We are awaiting the results of the investigation.”

Sally Nolan, a British passenger who has lived in Altea, Spain, for 20 years, described the harrowing experience. “I remember thinking it was like a scene out of a disaster movie and I may not see my children again,” she said. Nolan was thrown off a sofa when the boat started tipping over and had to cling to a table leg.

The passengers were eventually rescued with the help of another boat, the VIP Shrouq. Fernando, still trapped and unable to climb the stairs, waited until the water level inside the boat was higher, allowing him to float up. He then reached the flooded saloon and had to dive under the water to get out. “I took the biggest breath I’ve ever taken in my life. I filled my lungs because I didn’t know how long I needed to stay under the water,” he said.

A GoFundMe page has been established by German passenger Dominic Schmitt to fund the legal action against Carlton Fleet. Schmitt aims to “make sure that no one has ever to experience what we have experienced and what could have been easily prevented.”

Michèle Colenso, who lives in Dorset, expressed concern that others could be killed. She believes there are more significant issues with diving boats in Egypt, as they are often refurbished to increase their size due to restrictions on building new boats. “We would like to see significant improvements to how maritime practices are applied to diving services worldwide and especially in Egypt,” she said.

World News

Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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