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Atkins loses ten in Bahrain boat tragedy

NEWS - Six of consultants' staff and four relatives among Brits lost in dhow disaster

BODIES of the British victims of the Bahrain boat disaster are being returned this week as the local authorities continue their investigation into the tragedy that killed 58 people.

Consultant Atkins has confirmed that 10 of its people died on the boat trip organised by main contractor Murray & Roberts last week to celebrate the topping-out of the Bahrain World Trade Centre.

Atkins chief executive Keith Clarke, speaking from Bahrain, said: 'This has been an incredibly difficult time for everybody within Atkins and all our efforts have been focused on helping those most closely affected by the disaster.

'I'd like to pay a personal tribute to the outstanding work and dedication of those who died and express our deep sorrow at their loss. It has been a humbling experience to receive so many heart-felt messages of support and understanding from across the industry and this has been a great comfort to us all.' Four Atkins staff survived the sinking and they have been taking part in the investigation.

An Atkins spokesman said: 'The survivors have been speaking with the authorities as the inquest continues and the bodies of the victims should be returned home this week.' Fifteen Britons died on the trip, organised to mark the construction milestone on the World Trade Centre project.

Work on the 50-storey twin towers was suspended after the tragedy but partially resumed on Tuesday when a new project management team was installed.

Murray & Roberts said the scheme was due for completion in August but it could not give a revised finish date.

The South African firm lost 10 people in the Al Dana dhow disaster.

A spokesman said: 'A replacement project leadership team was mobilised to the World Trade Centre today [Tuesday] but full production will commence only when it is deemed safe to do so.

'Subcontractors have also commenced with the remobilisation of their management teams.' Bahrain accident investigators are probing claims that the vessel was overloaded with 150 people on board and only had a permit for use as a floating restaurant rather than as a pleasure cruiser.