A WOMAN rescued from pitch-black waters 20 miles from Scarborough after plunging from a ferry said: “I thought I was going to die.”
Jeni Anderson, from Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, said she felt “very, very lucky” to have survived after spending half an hour fighting for her life in rough seas, having fallen from the Newcastle to Holland Princess Seaways DFDS ferry at about 8.35pm on Monday.
She said yesterday: “I just remember thinking that was going to be it. I remember thinking what a terrible way to go and I was going to try my best for that not to be how it ended.
“I remember swimming and screaming and trying to make sure that if anybody was looking they would see me.”
The 23-year-old former student of French and Spanish had been on her way to spend a break in Amsterdam with three friends to celebrate graduating from Northumbria University.
She had been on a deck of the ferry at around 8.30pm on Monday with two of her friends when she fell.
“I just remember going over, I don’t remember really how, I just remember the feeling of going over,” she said.
“Apparently I hung on for a little bit and then I obviously couldn’t hang on any more and ended up in the water.”
Miss Anderson said she had no recollection of hitting the water, adding: “I just have flashbacks of being in the water and trying to swim after the boat even though I knew that was not really going to help me and shouting and screaming so that even if people couldn’t see me then may be they could hear me.”
Miss Anderson, who had boarded the ferry in North Shields and was en route to Ijmuiden in the Netherlands, said her three friends had been warned to expect the worst after the accident.
“They took my friends off to a room and I think the captain said to them that in 20 years he has never found anyone who has gone over and my chances were very slim of being found.
“I know that I am very, very lucky and a couple of people have said to me that I should buy a lottery ticket this weekend.”
She spent about 30 minutes in the water before she was saved by the ferry’s rescue craft and airlifted by an RAF Sea King helicopter to Scarborough Hospital.
“I remember there suddenly being people around me and light and I think that was when I was lifted up to the helicopter. I don’t remember the moment they found me,” she said.
“I do not think I can really put it into words how lucky I feel and how grateful I am to everybody involved, the coastguard, the staff of the ferry, the RAF helicopter and the people in the hospital.
“I am extremely grateful to them,” she said.
She insisted that neither she nor her friends had been drunk at the time of the fall.
She added: “I just remember going up on deck. We were on deck, one of my friends was on the phone and I was by the railings and I went over.
“How that came to happen, I don’t know, whether I was just leaning too far, or whatever, I really don’t know what happened, I just remember going over.”
Miss Anderson suffered heavy bruising in her fall but was released from hospital in the early hours of Tuesday.