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CONCORDIA DISASTER Revisited: CBC TV Documentary

School ship Concordia in heavy weather

Those who followed the near-tragic loss of the Canadian school ship Concordia (on which I blogged back in February) will probably want to check out this 22-minute documentary that aired yesterday on CBC's Land & Sea program. To refresh some recollections: Concordia, a 188-foot square-rigger with 48 high-school students aboard, was sunk by a microburst off Brazil and all aboard were rescued after spending about 30 hours in liferafts.

The TV show features mostly talking heads--a handful of students and Kim Smith, the chief mate--all of whom were aboard when everything went pear-shaped. Their personal accounts are most compelling and certainly seem to verify that it was indeed a microburst that assailed the ship. One student describes quite vividly how a vertical wind pressed Concordia's rig down into the water after the ship heeled over. There is no explanation, however, of why Capt. William Curry, who was in command, couldn't be cajoled into sharing his POV on the matter.

Being Canadians, the producers of the show are exceedingly gracious and polite and don't mention until the very end, and then only in passing, that there is still an open question as to why it took Brazilian authorities such a long time (more than 24 hours) to respond to Concordia's distress signal. This and other matters will presumably be addressed in an official report on the sinking, which reportedly will be published early next year.

Meanwhile, in other school-ship disaster news, I should note that the 182-foot square-rigger Fryderyk Chopin, with a large crew of teenagers aboard, was dismasted just two weeks ago south of the UK.

School ship Fryderyk Chopin dismasted

Looks like the weather gods are gunning for these kids. Which is one reason why I'm sending my daughter to karate school instead of ballet class this year.

 

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