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        First Days Stories: Pascale My Phuong Tran and Ngoc-Tran Vu

        Photos of Vietnamese “Boat People’s” journeys accompany Pascale My Phuong Tran’s recollections (audio) of her father's bravery in escaping Vietnam in this media gallery produced for the American Experience First Days Story Project. The accompanying photographs show the often-perilous journey faced by similar refugees. After leaving Saigon, Pascale’s father moved to a village on the sea and became a fisherman. During the late 1970s, he spent years gathering materials to build a boat, and then used it to carry more than 400 refugees into the Pacific Ocean. In the audio recording, Pascale describes to her friend, Ngoc-Tran Vu, how after surviving the century’s biggest hurricane in the Pacific and refusing rescue by a Russian ship, her father and his passengers eventually made it to an island in Malaysia. Produced by StoryCorps for the WGBH American Experience First Days Story Project, part of the outreach and engagement initiative for the film, "Last Days in Vietnam."

        Find out more at the project's website.

        Audio Story - "Our family will die at sea, or we will make it to freedom"

        Photos of Vietnamese “Boat People’s” journeys accompany Pascale My Phuong Tran’s recollections (audio) of her father's bravery in escaping Vietnam in this media gallery produced for the American Experience First Days Story Project.

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        Photo 1 - The Boat People's Journey

        After the fall of Saigon, many South Vietnamese fled fearing reprisal from the new Communist government. While some people traveled overland to Thailand, most refugees escaped by boat. The journey at sea was perilous; people faced dehydration, starvation, pirate attacks, bad weather and rough seas. The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees estimates that approximately one third of those who attempted the journey perished. This photo shows Vietnamese refugees adrift on the South China Sea.

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        Photo 2 - The Boat People's Journey

        Refugee on board the Sky Luk pleads for help (1979).

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        Photo 3 - The Boat People's Journey

        1978 Arrival of small fishing boat with 162 Vietnamese refugees aboard. The boat sank a few meters from the shore. Most of the refugees were rescued and reached the coast safely.

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        Photo 4 - The Boat People's Journey

        Refugees rescued at sea (1986).

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        Photo 5 - The Boat People's Journey

        Vietnamese refugees seek temporary asylum in Hong Kong (1983).

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        Photo 6 - The Boat People's Journey

        Vietnamese refugees adrift in the South China sea (1985).

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        Photo 7 - The Boat People's Journey

        Refugee rest after rescue in South China sea (1985).

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        Photo 8 - The Boat People's Journey

        Refugees aboard a boat in the South China Sea (1985).

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