Cruise passenger recalls ‘shock’ as Mexican tour boat filled with water — then, chaos

miamiherald | 1/9/2018 | Staff
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It was a chilly, early January morning when Thiago Koga disembarked Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas for a $120 diving trip off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico.

But early into the excursion, things started to go wrong.

Water - Boats - Hour - Koga - Weston

The choppy water delayed the boats for an hour, said Koga, who lives in Weston.

When the dive boat did set sail, it lolled behind the others, making the 20-minute trip in 30 minutes instead. “What is happening?” thought Koga, who found himself thinking about a tour bus accident that also happened in the Yucatan Peninsula region two weeks prior, killing 11 cruise passengers and a tour guide.

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Dive - Boat - Coast - Cozumel - Cruise

The dive boat that sank off the coast of Cozumel with 10 cruise ship passengers aboard on Jan. 3, 2018.

Then, as the diving instructors started to give out directions to the cruise passengers aboard — all certified divers — water began to rise to his ankles.

Knees

Then it was by his knees.

Pandemonium ensued. The crew urged the passengers to move to the front of the ship to help counterbalance the weight. A man, whose wife had hit her head, began to shout for help. Meanwhile, the dive master yelled for divers to hurl their weight belts, used to keep them underwater, from the boat into the ocean.

None - Seconds - Koga - Ship

None of it helped. In 50 seconds, Koga estimates, the ship was almost completely underwater.

“I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been diving for 12 years and never seen something like that before,” he said. “I was in shock.”

Bow - Ship - Percent - Water

He clung to the bow of the ship and, when it was about 75 percent in the water, he jumped.

I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT. I’VE BEEN DIVING FOR 12 YEARS AND NEVER SEEN SOMETHING LIKE THAT BEFORE. I WAS LIKE IN...
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