Section VI journey of death – Introduction to

in the sea of “Donna PAS” on December 20, 1987, the last Sunday before Christmas. At 5:30 in the morning, with a whistle, the passenger ship Donna PAS said goodbye to Leyte island and drove slowly towards Manila. However, no one expected that more than 16 hours later, a rare maritime disaster in human history occurred in the waters between malinduk island and Mindoro Island, about 160 kilometers south of Manila, the capital of the Philippines, The Philippine passenger ship “Dona PAS” collided head-on with the oil tanker “Victor”…

disaster history

Death Trip

“Dona PAS” passenger ship was built in Japan in 1963, with a displacement of 2324 tons. At first, it could only carry 608 people. In 1975, a Philippine ship owner bought it, And then carried out transformation, so that the passenger capacity soared to 1518 people. However, on the voyage from Leyte island to Manila on December 20, 1987, the ship was so crowded that the passenger capacity greatly exceeded the specified maximum. In the cabin, there are even three or four people sitting on a single hammock. On the passageway, large and small luggage piled up like a mountain, even goats and other animals were crowded there, and the elevator was crowded by hundreds of people.

at that time, after registering with the passenger transport company, 1530 passengers took the passenger ship with tickets. In addition, there were hundreds of children, some people with passenger transport company passes, passengers who hurried on the ship before the passenger ship started to make up their tickets on board, and some ticket evaders — they were not on the list. In addition, hundreds of people without tickets rushed through the coast guard and forcibly boarded the ship. According to statistics, the passenger ship had carried nearly 3000 people when it set sail. Most passengers are going to spend Christmas in Manila. Therefore, although there is not enough place to settle down comfortably, they are also in the joy and excitement on the eve of the festival.

“Dona PAS” passenger ship

at about 10 p.m. on the 20th, “Dona PAS” passenger ship has traveled to the sea near malinduk Island, about 160 kilometers south of Manila. It only takes more than five hours to reach the destination Manila. At this time, in the cabin, some passengers curled up their tired bodies and slowly fell asleep; Some talkative travelers are still talking to kill time; On the deck and in the restaurant, some people were talking excitedly about what to buy for Christmas and the relatives who would meet them at the dock.

that night, there was no moonlight in the sky, it was too dark to see five fingers, and the heavy rain seemed to be coming soon. The Donna pass bumped along in the dark. Suddenly, some bright spots appeared in front of the “Donna PAS”, and these bright spots were getting closer and closer. Suddenly someone shouted, “it’s an oil tanker!” Then, a violent vibration of the ship woke up all the sleeping people. The passenger ship “Dona PAS”, carrying nearly 3000 passengers, was hit by an oil tanker in the middle of the port side and was almost hit in two. In an instant, with the deafening explosion, oil drums were pushed into the air by the impact force and fell with a mass of fire. The oil barrel with fire hit the cockpit, the crowd and the deck. In an instant, there was a raging fire in all places. All the lights on the ship went out and the machine stopped running.

8800 oil barrels and hundreds of tons of crude oil have turned the two ships and the surrounding sea into a huge sea of fire. With the explosion, the ship broke out a terrible scream. The mother was calling her children, the children were crying, the overwhelmed people were screaming in despair, and others began to run wildly. The ship became chaotic, as if the end of the world had come.

before long, many tourists on the deck of the Donna PAS became firemen, large and small. They waved their hands and plunged into the water. In the face of the raging fire, people had no other way out. At this time, they no longer cared about the water nature, and jumped into the vast sea one by one.

the turbulent sea water mixed with crude oil surged in from the big hole smashed in the hull, drowning people’s knees, necks and heads, as well as a hysterical cry. At this time, there was no heroic feat or dramatic scene. Everyone was desperately looking for his own way of life. People who jumped into the sea were still shouting for help in the first period of time, but in the face of the vast and cold-blooded sea, there was no sound before long, and most people who didn’t dive were swallowed up by fire.

the passenger ship

which was about to sink completely was hopelessly rescued. When the passenger ship

collided with the oil tanker “Victor”, a passenger ship named “Don Claudio” was sailing 13 kilometers away. The rising fireball was found by a sailor on board, who immediately reported the situation to the captain. Captain melesio balanco ordered to rush to the scene. At 10:38 p.m., they approached the fire site. The captain ordered to turn on the searchlight and start searching the sea. The sailors were stunned by everything in front of them. A layer of corpses floated on the sea, and some were still burning, and a smell of oil floated in front of them. After three and a half hours of searching, they rescued 26 survivors, two of whom were the crew of the oil tanker victor. Dona PAS sank at midnight after burning in the water for more than two hours; The “Victor” tanker burned until about 2 a.m. on the 21st.

at dawn, the sea is still so calm, everything is gone, it seems that nothing has happened here. At 6 a.m. on the 21st, eight hours after the shipwreck, the Philippine government learned the bad news。 It took another eight hours for the government to organize personnel from all parties to carry out rescue, and military helicopters, aircraft and merchant ships were constantly sent to the accident site. At 14:40 p.m., at the request of the Philippine government, the Clark military base in the Philippines also sent three helicopters to carry out on-site search and rescue work. However, the plane searched the sea surface of more than 160 square kilometers and found neither the wreckage nor the bodies of the victims. The sea was empty and even the location of the accident could not be determined.

on the morning of the 22nd, although the government’s search and rescue work is still continuing, people have little hope that there will be survivors in the sea area frequented by sharks. Subsequently, the authorities announced the cessation of search and rescue work.

as of December 26, a total of 410 bodies had been found. Some of them were naked, some were charred, some were flesh and blood blurred, their faces could not be identified clearly, some were only half of their bodies, some lacked arms and legs, and were obviously bitten by sharks. No one knows how many people died in this tragic shipwreck. Although the official figure of 2200 people was given, according to the overload of the “Donna PAS”, at least 3000 people lost their lives.

accident investigation after the

accident, Philippine President Ko Aquino said in a statement on the 22nd: “it will be our greatest tragedy to encounter this great disaster when Christmas is approaching.” He called the accident a “terrible national tragedy” and immediately ordered the relevant departments to thoroughly investigate the shipwreck. The accident happened on Christmas Eve, and Manila was shrouded in a sad atmosphere. Hyme Singh, the Christian Archbishop of the Philippines, expressed deep sorrow over the huge loss of life and held a special mass ceremony for the victims.

on the 28th, the Philippine government established a shipwreck investigation committee and immediately launched an investigation. Preliminary findings show that overloading is the main cause of the disaster. However, this statement has been opposed by many people. They believe that for the Philippines, which has more than 7000 islands, ferries are the main means of transportation for people to and from the islands. The phenomenon of ship overload is very common, but the record of ship sinking only due to overload is very rare. Although the “Dona PAS” is overloaded, from the navigation condition of the ship, everything is normal. If it does not collide with the “Victor”, it will not sink. They believed that the main cause of the accident was the lack of skilled driving experience of the helmsman of the passenger ship.

according to the survivors, on the night of the accident, the first mate and the third mate on the passenger ship “Donna PAS” were not present. Only one apprentice engineer was operating. When the passenger ship collided with the oil tanker, the captain watched the video in his room, while the first mate and the third mate drank in the cabin. This statement was immediately denied by the head of the shipping company. He said: “when an apprentice is at the helm, there must be a staff watching. We strictly implement the regulations we set ourselves.” He also stressed that according to the records of his company, the second mate was responsible for the navigation of the ship at the time of the accident, and the first mate, the third mate and the captain should be resting. However, since the captains of both ships have been missing, it is difficult to thoroughly understand the cause of the crash. After the




, the Philippine government buried all unclaimed bodies, built a monument and engraved the names of all the victims on the tombstone to commemorate and warn. The dead are dead, and the living should take warning. Although we still don’t know the real cause of the accident, we all need to pay enough attention to overload and crew control, and try our best to avoid similar accidents.


if we are unfortunately killed at sea, we should know some knowledge of self rescue at sea. The living conditions at sea may be worse and more demanding than any other environment. Aircraft and ships generally carry life-saving equipment, but in the vast deep sea, even entering the life raft still faces many difficulties.

in cold waters, people’s body will soon get cold. Even in a small boat, the cold sea breeze will make the body temperature drop sharply. Without certain equipment, wandering alone in the cold sea will be even more bleak. Once the emergency food and fresh water reserves are exhausted, waiting for rescue is tantamount to waiting for death. Therefore, we must use all possible ways to obtain food and fresh water from the sea and maintain our lives as much as possible.




, after falling into the sea, should first consider using all kinds of floating things, such as plastic barrels, wood, foam boards, packing fillers, etc., so that they can float on the surface of the sea, and then actively look for land, islands, or even a piece of rock that can be leaned upward. This is much better than waiting in the sea for a long time. In addition, we should also send distress signals to the sea or air through various methods.

if we can’t get rescue in a short time, we should start to consider solving the problem of supplies. Fish is the most promising food, while fresh water can only rely on rain or desalination. Do not eat biscuits, bread, beef jerky and other water consuming foods when there is no drinking water or there is a great lack of drinking water.