The sole survivor of the Thai shipwreck: unable to see his wife to sleep

 The sole survivor of the Thai shipwreck: unable to see his wife to sleep

One year ago, the Phoenix cruise ship capsized off Phuket Island in Thailand, killing 47 people.

Zheng Lanhui, 58, lost his wife, daughter, son-in-law and 18-month-old granddaughter to the disaster. He became the only survivor of a family of five.

According to the lunar calendar, June 26 is the anniversary of the deceased. Zheng Lanhuis wife was buried in his hometown of Pujiang, while his daughters family of three were buried in his son-in-laws hometown of Ningbo. At 4:30 a.m., Zheng Lanhui, his father and his two sons and daughter-in-law drove from Hangzhou to visit the tombs in Pujiang and Ningbo.

Zheng Lanhui also took the ashes of his daughters pet dog. When her daughter was alive, the pet dog died in a car accident. Her daughter reluctantly left her ashes pot at home. Zheng Lanhui also took it to her daughters graveyard.

Over the past year, Zheng Lanhui has been busy commemorating and safeguarding his rights. He moved into his daughters empty room and maintained all the furnishings before the accident. My life is their shadow, Zheng said.

He is also busy adjusting to his new role in life. Besides becoming a father, he also tries to become a mother of his son, a elder sister and a dependant of his family.


Shortly after the anniversary came back, Zheng Feng, his eldest son, dreamed again.

Dad, Mom said the dish was bad, he told his father, Zheng Lanhui.

After listening to his sons dream, Zheng Lanhui urgently hoped that his relatives could give him a dream. For a year, he was annoyed, No, none of the four people.

He wondered, What does a dream have to do with?

After 30 years of marriage with his wife, he thought, 30 years of communication can not change a dream? His daughter loved to communicate with him before she died. She came to her daughters house to see her granddaughter, and when she came to the door, she could hear her daughter shouting for her father. When her daughter came home from work, the door opened and no one came in, her voice came in. His daughter did not dream of him.

He heard people say, If you think too much, you have a dream.

But sometimes Zheng Lanhui dared not think much or think deeply. A reporter came to visit his daughters room and told himself, Stand by the side and dont think much about it. But as soon as the other side opened his mouth, he could not control his tears.

But in life, the shadow of relatives is everywhere.

Zheng Lanhuis daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter in front of a group photo. Respondents Map

Zheng Lanhui spoke in a high pitch and loud voice. When his daughter was there, she reminded him, Dad, you should speak softly. When chatting with the neighbors, the neighbors found that Zheng Lanhui suddenly lowered his voice as if remembering something.

Zheng Lanhui also heard that a wife died in his hometown last year. Men were afraid to go back to his wifes home or sleep in his wifes bed.

Zheng Lanhui couldnt understand, I cant sleep without seeing my wife. In his old bedroom, there were two pillows on his bed; when he opened the wardrobe, half his clothes and half his wifes clothes were the same as before.

He also developed, enlarged and mounted photographs of himself and his wife when they were young. The first time the photo was washed out, the hair of his wife was not handled properly. He spent money to re-wash it and get it out one by one. The washed photos and the wifes personal photos were placed on the bedside table in the bedroom, one by one. Every night before going to bed, murmur, Wife, I am asleep. Get up in the morning and turn on the light just like your wife sleeps next to you.

At the beginning of the year, he moved into his daughters former residence with his youngest son and helped her keep the vacant house. The interior designers daughter personally designed and decorated the house. Zheng Lanhui did not move the furnishings in the house. The daughters son-in-laws room remained the same as before, and the granddaughters toys were kept in the babys room as before. As a souvenir, he turned on his daughters bedside lamp, which could not be extinguished for 24 hours. The photos of his daughters son-in-law and grandson-in-law, enlarged and developed, were placed in the most prominent position in the house.

On July 6, Zheng Lanhuis daughter and son-in-laws bedroom. New Beijing News reporter Wei Furong

It made him and his little son feel that the people close to him were still around.

Before the accident, the wife also lived in the apartment. She came to take care of her daughter after she was pregnant. At that time, Zheng Lanhui was busy at both ends. He spent half a month in the hardware store business in Fuyang, Anhui Province, and half a month in Hangzhou to help with his granddaughter.

During the New Years Day dinner, a table was filled with nine members of the family. My son-in-law is a good cook and never lets his daughter cook at home. Zheng Lanhui talks about planning at the dinner table. There are two suites in his hometown and two sons each choose one. His daughter-in-law told him, Dad, leave us a bedroom, and go home on New Years Day with a place to sleep on it.

What is perfect? Zheng Lanhui thought that a family reunion, not only good children, daughter-in-law, son-in-law is better, this is perfect, is dream-like luck.


Until the accident came.

On July 5, 2018, the daughter planned a one-day trip to Thailand for a family of five. They took the Phoenix to Phuket Deep Sea Tour. If not unexpectedly, according to the plan, they would depart from Phukets Chalong Wharf on the same day and take the Phoenix yacht to Little Emperors Island and Great Emperors Island in turn. Then return to the dock.

At 4 p.m. that day, the Phoenix encountered wind and waves and rolled over on its way back from the Great Emperors Island to the dock. Zheng Lanhui and his wife were on the first floor, while their daughters and three families were on the second floor of the yacht.

Zheng Lanhui took his wife to the deck. She fell down and hurt her knee. Dont pull me, said the wife. Okay, Zheng Lanhui loosened his hands and the ship sank. Zheng Lanhui fell into the sea and saw his wife pressed into the water by later people.

When the news of the shipwreck had not been returned to China, there was no reason why his youngest son, Zheng Jun, suddenly wanted to call his family in Thailand.

He dialed his sisters number first.

Zheng Jun is the third in the family. His sister is the eldest daughter of the family. The difference between them is ten years. In the view of his father Zheng Lanhui, the two brothers and sisters are more like mother and son - the sisters care for his brother is meticulous and considerate.

Zheng Jun remembered that when he was in boarding high school in Jinhua, the school key was left in his hometown. My sister was working in Hangzhou at that time. When she knew the situation, she drove from Hangzhou to Jinhua village to pick up the keys and send them to him in the suburbs.

My sisters phone was not dialed, and the other relativesphones could not be connected. He felt wrong and consulted with his brother Zheng Feng. At first, his brother comforted him. Dont worry, maybe there is no signal at sea. Until about 10 p.m., the news of the Phuket Ship Sinking Accident in Thailand was disclosed by the domestic media.

A photo of Zheng Lanhuis wife, daughter and granddaughter. Respondents Map

Zheng Lanhui surfaced and was rescued by a nearby kayak. The two kayaks floating on the sea were opened after the yacht sank. Zheng Lanhui found that there were twenty or thirty people on each kayak.

This became the focus of his questioning afterwards: why did he not inform the passengers of the existence of the kayak beforehand? If he could know this in advance, he thought that when the disaster came, everyone would consciously approach the edge of the deck, so that more people could be rescued.

Survivors on the kayak were rescued by fishing boats passing by. After arriving safely, Zheng Lanhui began to search for relatives among survivors on the shore.

No one can find it. Zheng Lanhui is crazy. Rescue workers lifted him onto a stretcher, tied him up and pulled him to the doctor.

He calmed down and told them, Dont touch me. I wont go mad. Ill calm down. Ill find someone. He found volunteers and was told that because of the lack of technical conditions, he could not carry out rescue work that night, and that he would not be able to go to sea until 6:30 tomorrow morning.

A year later, Zheng Lanhui recalled that the most miserable thing in his life was that night. The whole family went out, only he returned to the hotel alone. He went into his daughters room. Usually, it should be lively, but that night there was no one. He knows that he was killed and must have been killed. All the people at sea have been rescued. Those who have not been rescued must have been trapped by the ship and gone down.

He went back to his room, took a bath, and sat all night till dawn.

At 3 p.m. on July 6, Zheng Lanhui was notified to identify the first batch of bodies salvaged ashore. He recognized his wife.

The bodies of her daughters son-in-law and granddaughter were also recovered. Zheng Lanhui wanted to dress them. He folded his familys clothes in his room and cried as he folded them.

Rights protection

Zheng Lanhui did not dare to close his eyes during the five-hour flight from Thailand. His son sat beside him, and his uncle and sister were on the plane. When the plane hovered over Xiaoshan Airport, he was afraid, afraid of another accident, how to explain himself.

One year later, Zheng Lanhui did not dare to travel, nor did he dare to think of those who were floating on the sea or flying in the sky.

Last November, the Phoenix was salvaged from the sea, and the Thai side announced that there might be quality problems with the cruise ship. Experts found that a cement column weighing about 3 tons at the stern of the ship was used to balance the hull, which should be one of the reasons for the wreck; the original engine on the ship was replaced by a truck engine; in addition, there should be four drain doors on the ship, but in fact only one.

On November 17, 2018, the Phoenix, a wreck on Phuket Island, Thailand, was salvaged. The picture is from the Peoples Federation Hall of Phuket Prefecture.

But one year after the Phuket shipwreck, the Zheng family still did not wait for the official accident investigation report. When asked by reporters on June 28, the capital of Phuket, Yin Pakapong, said that a complete investigation report of the accident could not be released in the near future and that a press conference would not be held on the first anniversary of the accident.

At home, the process of safeguarding Zhengs rights has also been slow. Zheng Feng believed that in the accident, her sisters ticket-buying platform, travel agency and foreign ship owners all had to bear the responsibility.

Shortly after returning home, Zheng Feng learned about her ticket purchase information on that day through her sisters friends.

Before leaving, the elder sister bought a Phuket Island big and small emperor Island Phoenix yacht deep diving scuba high end paternity ticket, which includes 10 adult tickets and 4 child tickets.

Last August, he contacted the person in charge of Elephant Daddy Travel. In the process of communication, the person in charge stressed that Elephant Daddy was only a ticket agent, not a travel agency. The other side explained that the travel agency provides itinerary services for passengers, while they provide ticketing services as ticketing agents. The other side also mentioned that if we want to ascertain its joint and several liability in the accident, we need to take legal approach.

On June 19, 2019, Zheng Feng entrusted Guo Chengxi, an acting lawyer, to submit a civil lawsuit to the Peoples Court of Yuhang District, Hangzhou City.

Lawyer Guo said that the lawsuit on behalf of him was mainly divided into two parts: travel agencies and tourism platforms. According to Article 71 of the Tourism Law of China, If the personal injury and property loss of tourists are caused by the reasons of local joining or performing assistants, tourists may request local joining or performing assistants to assume the liability for compensation, or the association may assume the liability for compensation. After the association assumes the responsibility, it may receive local joining or property loss. The performance assistant recourse.

Lawyer Guo told Xinjing News that if it is only a ticketing agent, it is necessary to provide evidence with legal effect. She believed that in the accident, like father travel belonged to the group.

Lawyer Guo pointed out in his complaint that July at the time of the incident was a high-risk period for Thai storms, and neither the platform nor the association had the obligation to inform passengers of the risks; in addition, the association had the responsibility to confirm the quality of the ship; in this case, the travel liability insurance purchased by the association was too low.

This year, safeguarding rights became the focus of Zheng Fengs work. His father, Zheng Lanhui, often expressed his self-reproach in front of him: if he had diarrhea and delayed his journey that day, could he save his familys life?

Zheng Feng did not know how to explain to his father. He hoped that he could identify the responsibility for the accident at the legal level. Maybe in this way, his father could put it down. Otherwise, he could not accept the new life, which he would always have doubts about.

Plain and insipid

Shortly after the incident, returning home from Thailand, Zheng Lanhui repeated the scene with his son: he pulled his wife out, her wife fell down, her legs bleeding, and then was overwhelmed by the crowd.

The son refused to let him say, lest he sink deeper and deeper.

When eating at home with his son, Zheng Lanhui took the initiative to talk about his wifes original stir-frying process. The youngest son responded by blocking the topic, Dad, your crafts are good too.

Life without relatives is more difficult than Zheng Lanhui imagined.

Housework first stumped him.

He hardly stayed in the kitchen when his wife was there; she loved to tidy up, and the place the nanny had cleaned had to be wiped again, so that the corner could not hide dust; everything from electrical furniture to bottles and cans in the kitchen had fixed places.

When his wife left, Zheng Lanhui had to start from scratch to wash and cook. When he left Thailand with ashes, he told his son that he would learn a little about his family life.

Zheng Lanhui also learns to be a father, a mother and a sister to make up for the absence of his wife and sister in his sons life.

He became a man who got up at six in the morning, went to the market by bicycle to buy vegetables, cook and soak clothes. Have breakfast with your son at ten oclock. When his son comes home from work, he will eat at 6:00 p.m. and start cooking at 8:30 p.m., and he will continue to eat after his son comes back from work. In addition, he visits his grandson at a fixed time every month, and his mother in the nursing home also visits him regularly.

Zheng Lanhui began to use search engines frequently: how to be a person, how to take children with the times, how to communicate with his daughter-in-law, how to stir-fry, how to cook...

For a time, he felt like he had become a mess and a male nanny?

Later, he decided to carry the pressure only on himself. I must finish it before I can afford to kowtow every time I go to the grave and say,Sisters pain to younger brother, I bear it all, Sisters care for younger brother, I also bear it all, I take the task of being a mother.

This year, he kept three things in mind: his son-in-law is the only son in the family, he is not there, he has to give his elder parents old age; his wife left, to take care of the 89-year-old mother; take care of the younger son who did not start a family.

After the disaster, he came to the conclusion that he should be a plain man. He said that plain is low-key, is the time to act.

On July 6, Zheng Lanhui led reporters to Happy City, a shopping mall their family used to go to, just outside the east gate of the district.

Zheng Lanhui and his family used to go to shopping malls. New Beijing News reporter Wei Furong

This route he has traveled countless times, there is a fresh supermarket on the first floor of the shopping mall. In the past, he would get up early and buy vegetables and fruits. He bought them and his wife did them. He took the escalator to the second floor of the shopping mall, which is a clothing area. When he and his daughter strolled here, they would try on their clothes. As long as they fit, regardless of the price, their daughter would buy them at home the next day. On the third floor, there is a childrens favorite area for granddaughters. Sitting in the hotel with the longest queue on the fourth floor, he said that they often come to this hotel.

He ordered his familys favorite dishes in the past, including bullfrog, fish soup and steamed eggs. This year, he has been able to take up the task of cooking. Bullfrogs have learned to cook in a pot bought by his son-in-law. The bottom of the pot is covered with garlic, ginger and pepper. Steamed eggs also want to learn, but after two months, he still failed to learn how to steamed without bubbles. More and more, he has a feeling that in the latter half of his life, it is to fry the vegetables well. Imagine that one day, the eldest son took his grandson with him, and the youngest son took his children with him, and all his cousins and cousins arrived. If someone asks: Are you going to the restaurant today? Maybe Sun Tzu will shout for him: No, eat my grandpas food today! How nice! Zheng Lanhui said. (New Beijing News reporter Li Ningyuan also contributed to this article, in which Zheng Lanhui, Zheng Feng and Zheng Jun are pseudonyms.) This article is from the author of New Beijing News: Wei Furong, responsible editor: Su Hong-hung_NBJ9980.

He ordered his familys favorite dishes in the past, including bullfrog, fish soup and steamed eggs. This year, he has been able to take up the task of cooking. Bullfrogs have learned to cook in a pot bought by his son-in-law. The bottom of the pot is covered with garlic, ginger and pepper. Steamed eggs also want to learn, but after two months, he still failed to learn how to steamed without bubbles.

More and more, he has a feeling that in the latter half of his life, it is to fry the vegetables well.

Imagine that one day, the eldest son took his grandson with him, and the youngest son took his children with him, and all his cousins and cousins arrived. If someone asks, Are you going to the restaurant today? Maybe Sun Tzu will shout for him, No, eat my grandfathers food today!

How nice! Zheng Lanhui said.

(Beijing News reporter Li Ningyuan also contributed to this article, in which Zheng Lanhui, Zheng Feng and Zheng Jun were aliased.)