Family’s anger over woman’s Sydney boat death
EXCLUSIVE:: The grief-stricken husband of Shalina Abdulhussein, killed on a party boat on Sydney Harbour, was numb with grief after discovering she may have been accidentally locked in the toilet when excessive levels of hydrogen sulphide filled the cubicle.
Shattered Daljit Singh has told family that he believed his wife, a mother of two, 39, had suffered a heart attack after being overwhelmed by poisonous gases and struggling to release the latch in the windowless cubicle in the vessel's hull and stood "no chance" of surviving.
"Shalina's family say she was stuck in the loo and couldn't open the door, the hydrogen sulphide filled her lungs quickly, she went into a heart attack within seconds," her aunt Zahra Barhmal said from her home in London.
"Her husband is in deep shock. He said Shalina had no chance, he understandably wants answers.
"We are all in shock but right now her husband is numb, he's in survival mode for their two boys."
"He adored Shalina, she went on a boat for just four hours to celebrate a birthday, she was so happy about going, he never expected to never see her again," she said.
Mr Singh buried his wife, a legal assistant at Sydney law firm Newnhams, on Monday and is now considering legal action against All Occasion Cruises, the boat company owned by developer Joe Elias.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority and RMS continue to probe the Berowra Heights woman's death after she was found on the Lady Rose catamaran on February 2. Investigators have since found defects in other vessels in the company's fleet, including in the boat's sewage disposal systems.
Relatives say Ms Abdulhussein was locked in the airless cubicle for some time before friends noticed she was missing and raised the alarm.
Crew members were forced to break down the cubicle door and found her slumped over the basin.
Around 100 people were on board celebrating a birthday on the Saturday afternoon when she died.
"Shalina's death has taken its toll on the entire family, and they're considering their legal position now," another relative said.
Her family flew in from England for her funeral.
Despite initial reports of safe gas readings, police later claimed there were dangerous levels on board the Lady Rose, as Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) investigators boarded the vessel to determine whether any national laws had been broken.
"Investigators were advised that several gas detection tests were conducted in a bathroom area of the vessel and were found to be in excess of the safe operating levels," a police investigator said.
Police did not confirm when the readings had been taken or what gas had been detected.
Mr Elias said his company continued to work closely with police and investigators.
"We pass on our condolences to Ms Abdulhussein's family and friends at this very sad time," a spokesman said.