ALL 64 STUDENTS and staff survived the February 17, 2010, sinking of the SV Concordia due to the extraordinary efforts of … everyone. “There wasn’t one hero,” eighteen-year-old Lachie Woofter told the Calgary Press. “You could pick out a few people that did exceptional things but everyone — every single person — was a hero.”
Forty-eight young people sailed on the Concordia as a part of a floating-classroom program in which students earn high school and university credits on the sea. Heading from Brazil toward Uruguay, the three-masted sailing vessel encountered a vicious downdraft that flipped the boat on its side; thirty minutes later, the Concordia would be completely submerged.
The teenage passengers and 16 crewmembers worked hurriedly, and calmly, to aid each other as the ship took on water. Tori Reid, eighteen, credited Woofter with saving her life by pulling her out from below deck, one of many moments in which the young people acted selflessly. Everyone on board made it safely onto three life rafts in what the Calgary-Herald called “an amazing escape.”
The ordeal wasn’t over as the 64 escapees from the Concordia spent an estimated 40 hours on the sea before two merchant ships picked them up. Later, first officer Kim Smith told the Canadian Broadcasting Company, “I’ve been uplifted all day just by the spirit and selflessness and the sacrifice these kids made for each other.” Tony Seskus of the Calgary Herald wrote, “what could have easily been a maritime tragedy will no doubt be remembered as a miracle made possible by a ship of heroes.”