Nonfiction | March 01, 1991

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It happened one unforgettable night several years ago in the Pacific Ocean near the Philippines. The deck was no longer under my feet. For several moments I flew through the air, until I felt the waves parting, gently welcoming me into their embrace. Coming up to the surface I looked around–and froze in terror. Beside me, an arm’s length away, was the huge hull of the liner and its gigantic turning propellor. I desperately summoned up my strength to swim out of reach, but I was held in the dense mass of stationary water that was coupled to the screw in a mortal grip. It felt as if the liner had suddenly stopped, yet only a few seconds ago it had been doing eighteen knots. The terrifying vibrations of the hellish noise went through my body; the screw seemed to be alive: it had a maliciously smiling face and held me tight with invisible arms.

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