Al-Dana Tour Boat Capsizes

The al-Dana a motorised Arabic dhow or passenger ferry, the al-Dana, sailing off Manama, Bahrain, capsized in the Persian Gulf on March 30, 2006.

As of 0100 UTC on March 31, 67 out of the 150 people onboard had been rescued, and 48 have been confirmed dead. Around 40 more are missing. The confirmed dead include 17 Indians and 12 Britons.

Most of the passengers were foreigners from the Nass-Murray & Roberts joint venture construction company who were celebrating completion of part of the Bahrain World Trade Centre towers. Ten of the dead were employed by the South African construction company Murray & Roberts Limited; four of these were South African employees, two were Indian, one was from Pakistan and another was a South African partner. SABC has reported that a sixth South African died in the tragedy.

Bahrain's coastguard service was involved in an immediate rescue operation, reaching minutes after the disaster. US 5th Fleet helped with the rescue effort with divers and small naval craft.

A cruise boat carrying up to 150 people capsized Thursday night in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Bahrain, and at least 48 bodies were recovered, the country's coast guard chief said. American divers and a U.S. helicopter aided the rescue effort.

Coast guard chief Youssef al-Katem said at least 63 people survived. A passenger on board the boat calling from his cell phone was the first to alert officials that the ship was listing, he said.

Survivor Khalil Mirza of Bahrain told The Associated Press that he made that call. He said the listing began while the craft was making a left turn out of the harbor.

Survivors of the Bahrain pleasure cruise sinking have claimed that the captain made a "too tight" turn before the boat capsized, an accident investigator has said.

The vessel's captain, who was arrested on Friday, also argued with the owner and tour operator over the stability of the boat, which was carrying too many people and only permitted for use as a floating restaurant.

The boat capsized on Friday night claiming the lives of 58 people including 15 Britons.

The lower deck of the cruise boat turned into a death trap: Panicked passengers, caught underwater in the overturned vessel, tried smashing through windows to escape, while their co-workers thrown into the sea from the upper deck watched.

A survivor’s account Saturday of the capsizing — in which 57 people drowned — came as Bahrain’s Interior Ministry said the vessel, a traditional dhow sailboat turned into a floating restaurant, did not have a permit to take its passengers on a dinner cruise in the waters off this tiny Gulf island kingdom.

Col. Tariq al-Hassan, a spokesman for the ministry, also said the boat’s captain, who has been detained for questioning, was not licensed to pilot the craft.