Officer describes ferry's sinking

Feb. 9, 2013 at 5:09 PM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- The chief engineer of a Canadian ferry that sank seven years ago told a jury he expected all the passengers and crew would go down with the ship.

In the end, only two passengers on the Queen of the North died. The fourth officer, Karl Lilgert, has been charged with criminal negligence for causing the deaths of Gerald Foisy and Shirley Rosette, and the case is now on trial before the Supreme Court in British Columbia, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The ferry was traveling between Port Hardy at the north end of Vancouver Island and Prince Rupert when it ran aground in Wright Sound just after midnight March 22, 2006. It sank about an hour later.

Senior Chief Engineer Brian Erickson testified Friday he was awoken immediately by the impact and by the quartermaster, who was knocking on cabin doors. Erickson said the vessel had tipped over so far he expected it to capsize, killing everyone.

Erickson got into the last lifeboat after an unsuccessful attempt to make sure no passengers were on the car deck.

He said the ship's last minutes were like watching the Titanic go down.

"The bow rose and fell. You could hear the cars crashing. Then the windows on the buffet deck exploded and the glass scattered like confetti," he said. "And then it was gone."

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