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People were sliding down the boat and screaming

Three people died when the cataraman sank in just minutes off the coast of Costa Rica, leaving 106 people stranded in the ocean.

Sam ChristieThe Sun

THIS is the terrifying moment a tourist boat sank killing three people — caught on camera by a student who swam for her life from the sinking wreckage.

According to The Sun, three people died when the 30m cataraman sank in a matter of minutes off the coast of Costa Rica, leaving 106 people stranded in the ocean on January 8 this year.

The tragedy — which claimed the life of Brit Ivor Stanley Hopkins, 80 — was blamed on choppy seas and high winds.

Passenger Alexis Esneault, then 21, captures the entire terrifying experience on a waterproof handheld Go Pro Camera.

The alarming film — the first to show the tragedy — shows the boat tip as water rushes on deck, and passengers scream as they are engulfed by the waves.

Student Alexis is plunged underwater — alongside a mother clinging to her children — and manages to escape the canopy and swim up to the surface by ditching her life jacket.

The chilling footage shows passengers clinging to each other while the boat sinks, and the moment they realise Brit pensioner Mr Hopkins is floating dead in the water.

Speaking for the first time, Alexis, now 23, said: “At first I had no idea it was so serious.

“As long as we could have our Margaritas, I was fine.

“But then very quickly it became clear that there was a serious problem.

“People were sliding down the boat and screaming. It happened very quickly.

“I knew enough about swimming that I had to take off my life jacket otherwise I was going to get trapped under the blue canopy.

“I took it off, the boat went under, and I swam up as the boat sank around me.”

Alexis added: “There were roaches everywhere and one on me, and I remember bottles floating around me.

Passenger Alexis Esneault, then 21, captured the entire terrifying experience on a waterproof handheld Go Pro Camera.

Passenger Alexis Esneault, then 21, captured the entire terrifying experience on a waterproof handheld Go Pro Camera.Source:Supplied

“We were just sitting in the ocean, and could see mountains off in the distance, but that was it.

“I was trying to calm down this kid by asking him about Star Wars.

“I could see the British man had drowned, but there was nothing we could do.

“Afterwards I couldn’t sleep for weeks — all I could see when I shut my eyes was water.

“I was totally traumatised.”

Alexis, who is now studying law at university, said she hasn’t been able to face releasing the footage until now, but added: “I think it is something people need to see.

“I held on to that camera because it was just the craziest thing I had ever seen in my life.

“Obviously something went very wrong.

“Yes it was a windy day, but we were given the go ahead to go out, and it wasn’t overly windy, and the water wasn’t overly rough.”

A total of 106 people — including the catamaran’s 10 crew members — were rescued.

Tourists scream as they are engulfed by waves in the chilling footage.

Tourists scream as they are engulfed by waves in the chilling footage.Source:Supplied

Mr Hopkins died alongside, Edna Oliver, 68, from the Mississippi, and Sharon Johnson, a 70-year-old Canadian woman.

His Argentine wife Stella Hopkins was also on board the vessel when it went down.

Fighting back the tears, Stella recounted their final moments together and said he may not have had enough time to put on a lifejacket.

Speaking at the time, she said: “My husband was Ivor Hopkins who died in the accident.

“The sea was very rough and I said to my husband, ‘All the times we’ve been travelling, we’ve never been on a boat that’s moved around so much’.”

Stella added: “He said, ‘Me neither’. Those were the last words we spoke to each other.

“After 20 minutes of the boat rocking, they gave us life jackets. I don’t know if my husband managed to put one on.

“Five minutes later the sea rushed in and filled the boat.

“At that point everyone was trying to get out as best they could.”

In October investigators ruled that negligence is not to blame and the tragedy was down to “natural causes”.

This article originally appeared in The Sun and was reproduced with permission.

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