Surviving a sea tragedy-A A +A
Friday, October 25, 2013
"I TOOK in a lot of water and made peace with God, accepting my death."
This is what MV St. Thomas Aquinas-MV Sulpicio Express Siete collision survivor, Paulo M. Lim, wrote in his journal at shotgunandcookies.deviantart.com.
Paulo hails from Butuan City and is a graduate of the Bachelor of Mass Communications from Silliman University in Dumaguete City.
Paulo, 22, narrates in his journal that he was leisurely drawing on his sketch pad when the collision between the two vessels happened.
"The power went out and there was heavy rumbling. I could hear people crying and praying. I also prayed under my breath," he narrated.
Using his cellular phone's flashlight, he continued to draw, but a few seconds later the emergency lights went on and that was time he picked up his lifevest, located at the end of their deck.
As his co-passengers panicked, Paulo was able to assist a mother and her child to put on their lifevest.
"The tilt [of the boat] was increasing, fallen water bottles rolled down the lower end. We rushed to get topside as the water evidently made its way inside. It was chaos, the people were shoving and pushing," he wrote.
He continued in his journal: "I dragged the children as the mother clutched her baby as we struggled to reach the top deck. We separated. I saw the ladder, they screamed at me for help. I wasn't able to carry all of them, I was not strong enough, so I grabbed the child up and yelled at them to "climb up, don’t give up, don’t be afraid." When I got up top, I saw the last person jump off. I was the last one up there. Suddenly the water was more violent and it rushed and took me off balance as it engulfed the ship."
In a phone interview, Paulo said that he was beyond terrified when he was sucked down with the ship.
"I was afraid, but still I felt a strange sensation of peace, I face death knowing I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord personal savior," he said in his journal.
To his surprise he found himself coming up to the surface and gasping for air. He swam to the nearest lifeboat, it was there that he noticed a big gash just below his knee, extending to his calf almost slicing it off. They were then picked up by a small cargo ship to shore.
Paulo said in the interview he was hospitalized on August 17 and was released 18 days later. He then proceeded to have his foot rehabilitated on September 3 at physical therapy center and was released a month later.
"The incident made me aware more about God and mortality," he said.
He said that he learned three things from the incident: "(1) we are not our own God, (2) we do not our lives (3) we have our purpose in life and He has a will for us."
"If you are in a near death experience, things make sense. The white light people say they see before death, it is not like that per se but more like a evaluation. It is like God telling me why I lived," he said.
He hopes that through the incident, he will be able to testify and show how great and good the Lord is.
Currently he is slowly recovering not only in physical and mental health but also in coping up with travelling.
"Always assume for the worst and hope the best. Safe or not always be ready and always have Jesus in your heart," he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 26, 2013.