It could be seen as a dramatic demonstration of the concept of karma: a group of young sailors launching homophobic abuse at another ship that was waving gay pride flags, and then they need to be rescued by their victims when their own ship explodes in a ball of fire.
Sunday’s incident at Washington State’s Moses Lake occurred two days before the start of June, which is known as Gay Pride Month due to demonstrations and celebrations centered around annual pride parades in cities around the world to commemorate the Stonewall uprising for equal LGBTQ rights in New York in 1969.
The video of the events of last weekend has went viral on TikTok, racking up more than 8 million views and prompting an investigation by Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones.
“We got them out of the water safely, we were kinder than them,” published the author of the video next to the clip, noting that the three rescued people, two men and a woman, did not thank.
According to a account of the incident In the Washington Post, a boater named Robbie, who did not give his last name for fear of retaliation, was enjoying a day on the lake swimming, tubing and listening to music with his brother and two friends. He said his boat displayed a variety of rainbow and gay pride flags.
At around 7 p.m., he said they noticed another ship passing by with its occupants yelling at them. “He could clearly hear gay words and flags shouted from his boat,” he told the Post.
The video shows a woman in the boat wagging her middle finger as they sped past and according to Robbie, the boat made a sharp turn and then circled around them at least six times, spraying water on them and causing the boat will sway.
The ship sped away, he said, and seconds later they heard an explosion and saw black smoke billowing from the other ship.
“Good grief! They exploded!” Says a man who is supposedly Robbie’s brother in the video.
Subsequent footage shows the three occupants of the burning boat swimming toward the one with the pride flags, and they are urged to get on board, as one of the rescuers calls the emergency service number 911. The woman is heard shout: “Help us, we get burned”.
“The passengers were quite rude, yelling for us, ignoring my [questions] about their well-being when they were on the 911 call and smoking a vaporizer on our boat without even asking if they could, “Robbie told the Post.
TO second clip shows the conclusion of the incident: rescued boaters speed away in a friend’s boat as the crew of a police boat tries to put out the flames by churning water with their propellers and then towing it away.
“These people harassed my family because we were waving gay pride flags in Moses Lake, Washington, running around us and yelling gay insults. Then his ship literally blew up! “Robbie said in a tweet accompanied by the hashtag #KarmaIsReal.
In a sentence posted on facebookJones confirmed that his office was investigating, but needed information on the identities of those involved.
“We would like to know more, and once we can interview people, we can find out more without relying solely on a short video,” he said.
Jones later told the Post that detectives were speaking with the boat owners “to determine if a crime occurred.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism