An elderly US tourist has died after a ferry sank while carrying cruise ship passengers to the private Blue Lagoon island in the Bahamas.
Terrifying footage shows dozens of anxious passengers wearing thick orange life jackets as the two-deck ferry, which departed from Paradise Island in Nassau on Tuesday morning, leans over to one side.
The waterline of the sea goes as far as the first set of windows on the ferry, before the video cuts to another shot of the ferry leaning over to the left at a steep angle.
Ferry passengers are then seen jumping out of the ferry and swimming towards a nearby boat.
Another video shows passengers screaming as abandoned life-rings float past the ferry.
The crew were reportedly unhelpful, and were seen crying and screaming by passengers
Local media reported that a 75-year-old American passenger died during the sinking, though the exact timing and cause of their death has not yet been revealed. Local police are said to still be investigating.
The tour operator told The Maritime Executive that two more passengers were taken to a hospital for further care.
One tourist, American woman Kelly Schissel, claimed the ferry’s staff did little to calm passengers or help them.
‘One of the crewmembers who was downstairs ran upstairs and was crying, absolutely bawling, and grabbing a life jacket. That’s when everybody was like “this is real, something’s happening”,’ Schissel said in a TikTok video.
‘We were kind of waiting for staff to tell us what to do, which they never did because they were too busy crying and freaking out.
@sarahplourde8 Our ferry capsized while going to blue lagoon. Absolutely traumatizing. We were on the bottom level and had to climb out a window while being almost vertical… So scary trying to save my parents, babies, children, and elderly people from drowning. Sadly one elderly woman didn’t make it. #nassaubahamas #royalcaribbean #bluelagoon ♬ original sound – Sarah Plourde
‘I also heard the captain was laughing because he was showing off. He was trying to whip the butt-end around, I just don’t think it worked out the way he wanted it to.’
Schissel said that the crew’s inaction continued as passengers tried getting off the sinking boat.
‘Once it got to the point where one guy jumped in, everybody else said “s***, we might as well get in”.’
She added that the ferry’s passengers were forced to endure ‘pretty rough waves’ as they went to the few available rescue boats.
‘I got on a fisherman’s boat that was just driving by.’
The ferry’s sinking comes weeks after a 64-year-old man was rescued by the Coast Guard after being stranded in a Bahamas island for three days.
The 64-year-old got into trouble last week 135 miles from the coast of the Bahamas when his boat failed to mobilize and he was forced to signal for help.
He fired flares from his disabled sailboat off the coast of Cay Sal, an island located between Florida, Cuba, and the Bahamas.