Sound clip: Wahine crew member

A crew member describes his experiences aboard the Wahine after the abandon ship order.


Crew member: Well the abandon ship, when that went off of course, there were people sitting and lying down around, which they had done for the past four or five hours. A lot of people had taken their [life] jackets off – a lot of people still had them on, but – had taken them off and were sitting on them and one thing and another. A wee bit of – not panic – but, you know, get off quick type of thing because at that stage the ship was lurching – quite an angle, and so a lot of people just ran exactly where they were and they didn't grab anything.

To cut it down a wee bit – I – there was about four or five of us, a few more maybe, posted up on the top aft of the ship – on the top side – and we'd formed a human chain along the back of the ship there, and as the people would come out of these big double doors, the ship was on such an angle – it's very hard to explain – but they'd have to physically grab on to us and work their way along to the back of the ship where the idea was that they would slide down the deck of the ship and have somebody at the bottom to catch them. That's one of the most terrible things that I'll always remember, that's seeing those people helpless as they slid down and broke limbs and one thing and another on the bottom railings, people couldn't catch them.

Interviewer: Hitting the side?

Crew member: Yes. That's the thing that I have to sort [of] live with. You try to forget, but it comes back now and again.

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Posted: 26 Apr 2008

My uncle was a crew member his name was Robin Udell he was 17. He was at the bottom of the ship when it sank and died. I have never meet him. My dad was 10 at the time when he lost his brother.