Last night on the History Channel, I watched part of their program Shockwave. It profiles people who have survived horrendous catastrophies or performed courageous acts.
Some time ago, the cruise ship Oceanos (sp?) began to sink somewhere off the coast of Africa. The captain gave the order to abandon ship. Here's the corker. The captain and the entire crew were the first ones to board the lifeboats and split! Leaving the passengers to fend for themselves on the quickly sinking ship.
A number of passengers were able to escape in several lifeboats. The ship then listed to one side to such an extent that the lifeboats on that side were submerged and thus useless for escape.
There were now too few lifeboats left for the remaining 228 passengers. Two men realized that they had to take charge and get everone off the ship. One was the cruiseline's singer, whose name I didn't catch. The other was the ship's resident magician, Julian Butler, who I suspect is from the U.K.
The two of them radioed for help, which eventually resulted in about a dozen Army helicopters from some African nation swooping in.
The entertainers then managed the crowd while strapping each passenger, in pairs, to the body of an army rescue person, who got hoisted up thirty feet into the waiting belly of the helicopter.
It took about 12 hours to get everyone off the ship. Mr. Butler and the singer were the last ones to leave.
I thought that this story was both horrific and inspiring. From the cowardly, irresponsible behavior of the captain, to the heroism of "the talent".
Did anyone else see it? Or does anyone know any more about the courageous Mr. Butler?