Girl weeps during testimony

The National,Friday June 24th, 2016

ROSE Kariat suffered an emotional breakdown yesterday as she tried to recall her experience during the 2012 mv Rabaul Queen disaster.
Yesterday was the eighth day of the hearing into the ferry trial at the Kokopo National Court.
Kariat, of mixed West New Britain and East Sepik parentage, had walked confidently into the court room and took her oath.
The first few minutes while giving evidence to the State prosecutor Paul Bannister, she spoke with her head held high, describing the weather on Feb 2, 2012 before the ship sank off the coast of Finschhafen in Morobe.
Rose and her elder sister Lisi had got on the vessel from Kimbe to go to Lae.
She described the weather as windy, raining and the sea rough.
“As the ship sailed out of the Kimbe port, my sister and I went to the lower deck cabin where we sat,” she said.
“There were already many passengers in that cabin and it was not easy to move around freely as we had to excuse ourselves when walking past passengers sitting on the floor.”
Kariat said when they passed Bulu Point off WNB, the movement of the ship was not steady as it was rocking.
When she tried to recall how three big waves had hit to capsize the ship, her voice cracked, tears rolled down her cheeks. She struggled to continue her story.
Justice Terrence Higgins ordered  a short break so Kariat could gather herself.
When she returned to court a few minutes later, she told the trial: “When the third wave capsized the ship, I was thrown to the side of the ladder that leads to the upper deck and I held onto it tightly.
“At the same time the fuel tank broke, the door to the cabin I was in was locked and at this time I thought my death was near.
“I prayed silently to God, asking Him if he would take my life then and there or spare me and put me out in the open sea so that I could swim to safety,” Kariat said.
Before she knew it, she was thrown out into the open sea. And she saw two bodies.