Somerville Woman Survives Tanzania Ferry Disaster

BOSTON (CBS) – A Somerville woman, who was on board a ferry that capsized off Zanzibar, Tanzania in rough waters on Thursday, is grateful to have made it out alive.

At least 38 people, including an American citizen, were confirmed dead, according to Reuters. More than 100 were still missing.

Hilary Strasburger, 26 was with a friend inside the ferry on the upper deck when it flipped, according to her parents. Strasburger, who was uninjured, was one of about 140 people who were eventually rescued.

“They were near a window fortunately… They couldn’t get out the door. The door was jammed by water,” her dad Frank Strasburger told WBZ-TV. “Someone kicked out the window. They got out the window and into the water.”

Speaking from their home in Maine, the Strasburgers said their daughter spent a frantic few minutes in the water trying to get to a life boat.

“She and her friend had been able to escape, and had been able to get to a life boat,” her mom Carrie
Strasburger said.

Strasburger told her parents she spent two hours battling wind and waves on the lifeboat until help arrived.

Her parents were stunned by the news, but relieved.

“We were shaken that this happened to her but incredibly grateful she was alive,” Frank Strasburger said.

Strasburger was in Tanzania as part of a trip to an orphanage in Musana, Uganda that she helped establish two years ago.

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