Home News ‘In! In!’: Sailor recounts Houthi attack and U.S. Navy rescue

‘In! In!’: Sailor recounts Houthi attack and U.S. Navy rescue

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On a sunny morning last week, the crew of the Greek bulk carrier Tutor was on deck as they sailed through the Red Sea to India when they saw a fishing boat in the distance with two people on board. The captain said the crew thought it was nothing unusual, but moments later they spotted a boat barreling towards their vessel.

The boat appeared to be remote-controlled — the fishermen they thought they saw were dummies — and the crew members shouted “Get in! Get in!” as they ran for cover, according to a video posted on Facebook by one of the crew members. Collision with their ship An explosion ensued, shattering glass windows on the bridge and flooding the engine room in seawater and oil, the captain said.

“We are all scared,” Captain Christian Domrique said in Manila on Monday. He and his crew, all from the Philippines, were brought to Manila. The US Navy rescued them from the damaged ship using an aircraft“For all of us, this is the first time experiencing anything like this.”

It was one of the most dramatic incidents to hit the Red Sea in recent months as Yemen’s Houthi rebels stepped up their missile and drone attacks. Attacks on ships The move is said to be aimed at putting pressure on Israel to end the Gaza war.

Mr. Domric and Philippine government officials said 21 crew members, including the captain, were rescued from the Tutor; one crew member who was in the engine room at the time of the collision remains missing.

Domric, speaking on behalf of the crew at a news conference arranged by the Philippine government, said the crew remained on the bridge after the attack and he contacted the ship’s owner, the Philippine government and the U.S. Navy, which has been patrolling the area to deter Houthi attacks. He also warned nearby ships to avoid their location.

“Request immediate assistance. We have been hit by a bomb,” Mr Domric said into the intercom, according to another video posted on Facebook.

He said that about four hours after the collision, at around 1 p.m., their stationary ship was hit by another explosion – this time by a Houthi missile.

“We don’t know what to do,” Mr. Domric said. “We have floods and air strikes. We can only pray.”

The crew moved to a downstairs hallway and set up camp, scattered with water bottles, bags, extension cords and phone chargers. Some crew members slept on the stairs.

“We are hiding in the middle aisle of the ship right now because we don’t know where the bombs are going to land,” the ship’s chief engineer, John Flores, said in a series of text messages to his wife, which she later posted on Facebook.

The crew managed to find oil to power a small generator that provided lighting, electricity and internet access to the boat. But Mr Flores began to fear they would be attacked again, and he texted his wife to say their boat had been adrift for 10 hours, waiting for rescuers.

“Please remember that I love you and the kids very much,” he wrote. “Always take care of yourselves. I miss you very much.”

Finally, a U.S. Navy helicopter arrived and airlifted the crew from the ship to the Navy cruiser USS Philippine Sea. U.S. service members, including many Filipino Americans, welcomed them warmly, sang karaoke and brought them food, Domrick said. They were taken to Bahrain and then flown to Manila.

Upon arrival at the airport, the crew smiled but no one spoke to reporters. After the news conference, Mr. Domric hugged his wife and looked relieved.

“We are all traumatized,” he said at a news conference, fighting back tears.

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