Survivor testifies at ferry trial

National

ELENAS Batari, the 21-year-old nephew of mechanic Philip Batari who had posted a series of mobile phone Facebook updates before the mv Rabaul Queen sank, testified on Friday at the ferry disaster trial in Kokopo.
On trial are ferry owner Peter Sharp and his captain Anthony Tsiau charged with 172 counts of manslaughter and sending or taking an unseaworthy vessel out to sea. Batari was shown one of the photos uploaded by his uncle Philip of rough seas pounding the vessel on the morning of Feb 2, 2012.
He told the trial, the photograph was taken between Kimbe and Point Bulu by his uncle.
Batari, his uncle Philip and three cousins of his boarded the ship at Kimbe that day.
During the journey, they were all standing together on the second deck as the cabin was full with passengers. Their clothes were wet due to the sea spray of the rough seas.
He said when the three big waves hit, they all panicked and looked to their uncle Philip but he did not give them any indication whether to jump out to sea, so Batari and his cousin Graham jumped back into the cabin.
In there, the tilting of the ship had already thrown people to one side of the cabin where it was pitch black after the lights went off and engine oil began to spill everywhere.

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