April 27th, 1975, North Vietnamese soldiers had finally reached the outskirt of the southern capital, Saigon. The war in Viet Nam that lasted 20 years is about to come to an end with communism taking over. It was all over, Saigon was surrounded by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. Presiden Nguyen Van Thieu resigned as president and gave his farewell speech and denounced the United States for failing in aiding the South before the North would later come into the city.
North Vietnamese forces under the command of Senior General Van Tien Dung began their final attack on Saigon, which was commanded by Gerneral Nguyen Van Toan on April 29th, with a heavy artillery bombardment" [absoluteastronomy.com/topics/fall_of_saigon]. By the afternoon of the next day, North Vietnamese troops had occupied the important points within the city and rose their flag over the South Vietnamese Presidential Palace. South Vietnam captulated shortly after. The city was renamed Ho Chi Minh City, after communist leader, Ho Chi Minh. The fall of the city was preceded by the evacuationof almost all the American civilian and military personnel in Saigon, along with tens of thousands of South Vietnamese civilians associated with the southern regime. "The evacuation culminated in Operation Frequent Wind, which was the largest helicopter evacuation in history" [absoluteastronomy.com/topics/fall_of_saigon]. In addition to the flight of refugees, the end of the war and institution of new rules by the communists contributed to a decline in the population of the city. But to those who were unlucky that had stayed back because they didn't have the chance, they were about to undergo the most dangerous, terrying escape of their lives....by boat.
Preparing for this kind of escape would take several months probably several years for some. Weather it's coming up with the money for the mechanics or possibly coming up with the money to be able to travel up to the city to go to the bay. Many of them were unfortunate and they would end up having to sell all their belongings to get the money to make it up to the city to catch their boat bound for international waters.
The trip to the bay was a very dangerous trip. While heading to the city's river bay, danger lurked the night for the Vietnamese who took the trip. Weather it was being rotted out by the people of the "new" regime or being caught by the Viet Cong.
There were many different ways people used to leave the country. Most left secretly. Some involved bribing the officals to let them leave. Others would travel in small groups. Many families were split up during this period because they could only afford to send one or few members of the family away. "One method used involved middle-class refugees from Saigon, armed with forged identity documents, traveling 1,100 kms to Da Nang by road" [medilibrary.org/medwiki/Boat_People]. On arrival, they would take refugee for up to two days in safe houses while waiting for fishing boats to take small groups into the sea where their mental and physical strength would be tested.
It was time to be out at sea, the Vietnamese were ready to endure what the ocean had in store for them. A boat specifically designed for 50 was crammed with 80 or more Vietnamese refugees. It would be too cramped that there would be no room to walk around. For those who died, thei bodies were thrown overboard to creat more room. But that wasn't really a big problem.
With each boat, there was at least one skilled mechanic. The mechanic would be in charge of navigating the boat as well as fixing the motor if it was to have any problems. One of the problems mechanics face is that he could have the wrong tools or even worse, no extra tank of fuel. With a broken motor or no fuel, the boat would be nothing more but a piece of wood with a hundred stranded Vietnamese. Their only "motor' would be the wind.
Danger still lurkes despite a...