Zheng Lanqing – the sole member of one family to survive a tour boat sinking in waters off Thailand last Thursday – sits in a chair with a bag in his hand. Inside are clothes for his dead wife, daughter, son-in-law and 18-month-old granddaughter, whose bodies are in a morgue.

郑兰庆 —— 是上周四发生的泰国游船倾覆事件中全家唯一的幸存者 —— 他坐在一把椅子上,手里拿着一个袋子。袋子里是他已故妻子、女儿、女婿以及18个月大的外孙女的衣物,而他们的遗体目前都在太平间。

Along with his granddaughter’s clothing is a table tennis ball, which was her favorite plaything when she was alive.


Last Thursday, five family members were on one of two boats carrying a total of 127 Chinese tourists. The boats capsized in a violent storm near the southern resort island of Phuket late that afternoon.


Of the Chinese tourists, 41 were confirmed dead. Others remained missing, although 78 were rescued, according to the Chinese embassy in Thailand.


“My son-in-law didn’t like traveling, and I had been to Thailand in 2014, so we two were reluctant to go at first. But my daughter persuaded my son-in-law and I was persuaded by my wife, which led to this trip happening,” Zheng was quoted as saying by Meiri Renwu, a WeChat account operated by Boya Tianxia Media Group in Beijing.


At noon on Thursday, the family spent some time having fun on two islands and got back on the boat at around 4 pm, together with other tourists.


The sky darkened about 10 minutes after the boat left the pier, but Zheng didn’t worry too much. 船开出码头约10分钟后天就黑了下来,但郑兰庆没有太担心。

Half an hour later, the boat started shaking violently. He asked somebody where they were and found out that the boat had been in the same spot for the past half-hour.


Suddenly, the boat began listing heavily and he heard someone yell “Get out”! He quickly pulled his wife to the side of the vessel without thinking too much.


“It was rocking crazily and my wife fell down. Her knee started bleeding and I was in a panic,” Zheng said. “When we were about to jump overboard, she said ’Don’t drag me’ because of her injured knee and I said ’OK’. All of a sudden, the boat flipped over and I was in the sea.


“I could never imagine that the conversation was the last words between us. I grabbed a rope after I fell into the water, and when I raised up my head to look for my wife, the whole boat was missing.”


About 20 tourists, including Zheng, eventually climbed aboard a rubber raft. 包括郑兰庆在内的约20名游客,最终爬上了一个橡皮艇。

“There were no words between any of us in the rubber boat. All of us were stunned. We could only hear the sounds of the sea.”


Zheng said if they had known there would be a big rubber boat floating around after their boat sank, they might have first put on life vests and jumped in the vicinity to be saved.


“However, we knew nothing about it. No one gave us any warnings or guidance,” he said. “然而,我们什么都不知道。没人给我们警告或者指示,”他说道。

Zheng said it’s a tradition in his hometown that deceased children be dressed in long sleeves and trousers. He has prepared full sets of clothes for each of his family members who died in the tragic accident.


“I don’t know what to do now. I can only wait in Thailand, dealing with their final arrangements.”