AT 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, 1 August 1970, the M. V. Christena cast off from the Treasury Pier at Basseterre, St Kitts, in the north-eastern corner of the Caribbean Sea. The vessel was bound for the smaller sister island of Nevis, a routine 75-minute trip for the twin-engined boat, which was the conventional means of inter-island travel for residents of the two islands. The Christena was fatally overcrowded on that afternoon. About halfway to Nevis the vessel began to take on water. At 4:10 p.m. the Christena rolled sharply to starboard, apparently capsized, and then sank in a very few minutes. A total of 227 died from drowning, and 92 survived, thanks mainly to an heroic Nevisian fishing crew aboard the sloop Sea Hunter.
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