/ Jimmy's Corner: Late Post: The Egyptian tragedy continues!

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Monday, February 06, 2006 

Late Post: The Egyptian tragedy continues!

Mohammed Ahmed, aged five
Survivor Mohammed Ahmed, aged 5
Mohammed survived, but some of his family remain missing

The last time Mohammed saw his father, Ahmed, was when Ahmed put him on a lifeboat and told him to wait.

More than 20 hours later, five-year-old Mohammed was fished from the water wearing a life ring.

The lifeboat Mohammed had been on with his sister, Rahma, capsized after being overloaded with passengers.

Until now, only Mohammed has been found, says his uncle Harun Mohammed.

Mohammed's father, mother, three-year-old sister and two-month-old baby brother are missing at sea.

Mohammed told his uncle that he saw a lot of smoke and was then put on the lifeboat by his father. He says that ferry then "broke".

After his lifeboat capsized, Mohammed says he does not remember anything.

At the Hurghada General hospital, where Mohammed arrived on Saturday, he plays with his silver plastic pistol.

He has cuts on his face, but his uncle insists he is in good health and not distressed.

Relatives fuss over him, kissing him and joking with him.

Mohammed's family were travelling back to their native Egypt when the ferry sunk.

The five-year-old's father, Ahmed, worked as a teacher in construction in the holy city of Medina.

After being rescued, Mohammed was initially taken to the hospital in Safaga before being transferred 30 miles to this hospital.

But for Mohammed's uncle the agony is not over.

All Mohammed's immediate family are missing and he has yet to tell his five-year-old nephew. BBC News
Al Salam '98, or rather Egypt's Titanic, or even Egypt's second Titanic is a new story of the Egyptian tragedy. The young Mohammed and his tragic story is a result of greed, negligance or ignorance? We do not know. I intended not to write about this tragedy till facts become clear about it... looks like they will never do. Thus, I have questions that are putting my mind on fire, especially after I saw that kid on TV who saw his father and mother die meters away from him after they made him wear a life-ring.

  1. The ferry raised Panama's flag although it is an Egyptian ship and registered in Egyptian naval offices... why?
  2. All survivors say they were left in water for 6-20 hours after the ship sank... where were the rescue teams?
  3. Reports say the Captain turned back to Saudi Arabia then back to Egypt twice as the ship was on fire... any explanation?
  4. Survivors say life boats and jackets were not enough for the 1400 passangers... what's the real capacity of the ferry?
  5. Survivors say they were left on the deck and sailors kept running back and forth and no one told them anything... were the sailors trained for such situations?
  6. The victims families are left without information dying in frustration, worried and angry... can't the authorities just keep them in picture and assign someone to speak to them on regular basis?

The answers will be on soon... Answers that will never justify the tragedy of the 5-year-old Mohammed who (till now) lost his family.

*pictures source: BBC News

Jimmy:

Great post as usual. This is such a human tragedy, only because so much could have been done to prevent the loss of life.

Unfortunately this highlight's Egypt's "karwata" policies, even in safety issues such as these.

I have been trying to follow the story as much as possible, but I have not heard of the Panamanian flag incident you mention. Where did you get the information?

thanks alot AS, the story about the flag of panama on the ship was first told on El Beit Beitak tv show. then "hoosssssss" no one talked about it again.

Thanks again for the kind words:)

Jimmy,

You're very welcome, we need more sane voices from Egypt like you and Toman Bay.

I found this article that mentions the Panamanian flag issue:

"Mr Bakri goes on to accuse the Al-Salam company of "specialising in purchasing battered ships from Greece and other places and using the Panamanian flag to avoid Egyptian regulations"."

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