Heartbreak for survivor father

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The National,Monday June 27th, 2016

IT was heartbreaking for survivor Romney Mio letting go of his wife to perish in the ill-fated mv Rabaul Queen when it sank off the waters of Finschhafen in Morobe on Feb 2, 2012.
Mio, a second-year business management student at the University of Goroka, testified during the ninth day of the ferry disaster trial last Friday in the Kokopo National Court.
He and his late wife, Gorethy Laupu, a primary school teacher, who was expecting their third child, boarded the mv Rabaul Queen from Kimbe on Feb 2. They were in the first class section.
Mio said when the ferry departed Kimbe, the sea was very rough with strong winds.
“My wife was vomiting and was very weak. I took out my jumper so she could vomit onto it as I was cleaning her up,” he said.
He said at sunrise on the morning of Feb 2, the ship tilted to the left.
“All of a sudden, the first wave hit. I lifted my wife up from the floor to stand with me when the second and third waves followed, capsizing the ship.”
He said passengers fell to the left side of the ship as it overturned and water rushed in.
“I told my wife to take a deep breath and hold onto my left leg and I used my right leg and arms to support us both.
“I dived to the window and pulled the lever opening it.
“I swam out first and then helped her out. The tide then pulled my wife right back into the ship and me to the door.
“I surfaced, took a deep breath and dived back in to find her, but she was no longer there.”