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Read the passage carefully. Then choose the correct answer.
 
Carol looked through the window into the first-class area. There were many families relaxing on that Sunday afternoon. Children were splashing about the pool and many were sunbathing or snoozing on easy chairs. However, Carol was not feeling well. All her life, she had been frightened of boats and the sea but Gerry, her fiance, had persuaded her to make this journey.

About halfway through the two-hour journey, the ship suddenly slowed. A waiter was seen gesturing to the guests in the restaurant to vacate the place. Carol and Gerry tried to move with the crowd. Suddenly, the ship tipped to one side. People started to slide across the tilting floor, shrieking in horror as the ship tilted once again.

"This can't be happening," Carol thought numbly. Gerry tried to quell his own rising panic. He asked her to hang on while he tried to find some life jackets. Suddenly, the ship lurched again and they were engulfed by the sea of passengers. Gerry was swept away by the avalanche of screaming people. People started throwing themselves into the sea. "Gerry, Gerry!" Carol screamed. Gerry saw her among the crowd. Fighting his way through, he tried to reach her but the floor was rising beneath him. Then, he could not see Carol anymore.

Gerry grabbed hold of two life jackets and swam towards where Carol was. His head hit a wall. His lungs were desperate for air. He tried to think. "Stay calm, for Carol's sake, I've got to stay calm."

Meanwhile, Carol had been swept into a huge swirl of bubbling water. She swam as hard as she could but her efforts were hampered by panic-stricken hands. They gripped her shirt and she could feel herself sinking once again. She kicked and wriggled away. Then, she suddenly heard the heartwarming sound of Gerry calling in the darkness.

They met and hugged each other. Carol started vomiting. A few metres away, they noticed that the ship had sunk. Gerry pulled Carol away from the ship. The screaming was gone. Instead it was replaced by some eerie wails and sobs. Carol tried to keep up with Gerry. Fortunately, the strong current helped. "We have to swim to that island," Gerry pointed to the lighthouse some distance away. It looked near but Carol knew it was more than twenty kilometres away. Moreover, they knew that the sea had sharks. Gerry sensed her fear and started swimming. Suddenly, they noticed something orange floating nearby. Carol was weary of seeing another dead body, reminding her of her own imminent death. "It's a life jacket!" they exclaimed in unison. Laughing with joy, they held on to it and turned towards the lighthouse once again. Carol grabbed some tomatoes floating nearby and they sucked on them each time they rested.

Dawn broke with a rush. They had swum and rested every ten minutes, struggling to cover a reasonable distance. Carol could already see the white sandy beach but they were not getting any closer. "Just keep going," Gerry urged as if reading her mind. "Keep on swimming, don't give up now," he said as another huge wave swept them away from the island. They swam with all their fading strength.

Then, Carol gasped, "I can see a ship!" Soon, they realised it was an oil tanker which was on a search-and-rescue operation. Gerry kicked hard, thrusting himself out of the water, and waved the orange life jacket frantically. The ship slowed and they were hoisted up onto the deck. They had been in the water for more than sixteen hours. Gerry saw a few passengers who were rescued earlier and they came forward and hugged the weary couple. No words were exchanged. It was unnecessary as their eyes spoke of the horrifying moments they had lived through. Later, they found out that only forty passengers had survived.

     
  1. From paragraph 1,
    (a) why was Carol reluctant to make this journey ?
    (b) who persuaded Carol to make this journey ?
     
  2. From paragraph 3,
    (a) '"This can't be happening," Carol thought numbly.' What does 'This' refer to ?
    (b) 'Gerry tried to quell his own rising panic'. Explain what Gerry was trying to do.
     
  3. From paragraph 6,
    (a) explain the word 'imminent'
    (b) mention two things that helped to keep them alive.
     
  4. From paragraph 7,
    (a) which sentence in paragraph 7 shows that they did not give up ?
    (b) why did they find it difficult to swim to the island ?
     
  5. From paragraph 8, how were they rescued ?
     
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    Answers
     
  1. (a) She was frightened of boats and the sea.
    (b) Gerry, her fiance
     
  2. (a) 'This' refers to the sinking of the ship.
    (b) He was trying to calm himself.
     
  3. (a) Likely to happen soon
    (b) * A life jacket   * Some tomatoes
     
  4. (a) "They swam with all their fading strength."
    (b) The waves kept sweeping them away from the island.
     
  5. By an oil tanker on a search-and-rescue operation.
     
 
 
 
 

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