TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A video shows the terrifying moments a ferry carrying tourists heading to Blue Lagoon in the Bahamas sunk Tuesday at around 10:30 a.m.
A 74-year-old woman from Broomfield, Colorado, was killed, police confirmed to The Associated Press. She had been on vacation with her family when the boat sank.
According to local Bahamas news outlets, the Colorado woman was able to make it to land but died “as a result of the incident.” The cause of her death is unknown.
Two other people were hospitalized after the incident.
Kelly Schissel, a passenger on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas, was aboard the two-tier ferry with over 100 other people heading to Blue Lagoon when she noticed something was wrong.
Schissel said she was on the top deck when she heard people “freaking out” and saw water coming into the boat after the boat took a sharp turn.
“Well the Bahamas is off to a fun start… our ferry went down on our way to Blue Lagoon Island,” she wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
Schissel said one of the crew members started crying and grabbed a life jacket, leading to a domino effect of others grabbing life jackets.
Passengers weren’t jumping into the water at first because they were waiting for instructions from the crew, Schissel explained. However, she noted that the crew never gave instructions and were “too busy crying and freaking out.” One crew member was apparently on his phone.
“I also heard that the captain driving it was laughing because he was showing off and trying to whip the butt-end around and I just don’t think it worked out the way he wanted it to,” Schissel said in the video.
At one point, one passenger jumped out, leading to others following behind him.
Schissel said the current was rough, so people were struggling to stay above water. But Schissel was able to back-stroke against the waves and make it into a rescue boat, which arrived a bit later.
When the rescue boats arrived, they took the passengers back to shore, where they hung around in a pavilion for a headcount.
Once ashore for around an hour, the passengers were given T-shirts, shoes, towels, water, bags of chips, and hot dogs. Schissel said hours later, passengers got on a different boat and were taken back to the ship.
Authorities told The Associated Press they are still investigating the incident.