Icelanders escape Cambodia pleasure cruiser capsize

Six Icelandic women around the age of 20 were on board a two-storey pleasure boat which capsized near the resort of Sihanoukville in southern Cambodia on Thursday. All passengers escaped with their lives; but it is considered a miracle that one of the women survived; as she was locked in a bathroom when the boat went over.

The Icelanders have been travelling around Asia in two groups for the last three months. This was the first time they had all met up again and decided to take a pleasure cruise around nearby islands. There were 90 passengers on board, mainly Europeans.

After around an hour at sea, “One of us was in the bathroom and saw that the sea was coming in through the head and she somehow managed to get out,” one of the women, Eva Sigrun Gudjonsdottir told

Some people jumped off the boat before it had the chance to turn over. “I ran for the handrail,” says Gudjonsdottir. “There are very many people in a bad way after that, battered and with broken arms.”

Other boats in the area came to rescue passengers; all of whom escaped — and most without injury. Gudjonsdottir said the scene was one of sheer panic, with people screaming and frantically trying to find their friends.

The women have not been given an explanation for the boat’s accident; but foreign media have reported that it was over crowded and that it capsized because of all the dancing. Gudjonsdottir said, however, that nobody was dancing at the time of the accident. She added that little or no safety equipment appeared to be on board.

The six Icelanders are shrugging off their ordeal to the best of their ability and are continuing with their trip. Next they will visit Vietnam and Thailand.

(Photos from library and for illustration only: not directly connected to story)

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