A man who lost his wife and son in the Manila Bay pleasure cruise tragedy claimed yesterday the accident need not have happened. A sobbing Ho Yan told an inquest how the 42 Hong Kong people on the tour had questioned the boat's seaworthiness before they had even set off. Mr Ho said: 'We had asked if the boat was safe before setting out. The tour guide said it was very, very reliable. But it didn't look like a standard pleasure boat.' As the boat headed out for a view of the sunset, he said, some of the tour group asked to return to the pier because the boat was so unsteady. Instead it headed on to disaster. Mr Ho, an engineer, said: 'Children and women screamed as soon as the boat left the typhoon shelter area. In one or two minutes, the boat was hit by big waves and capsized. I was thrown into the sea. I grabbed the railings but I lost hold of my wife.' His wife, Chan Nga-moon, 32, and son Yuk-lun, four, drowned along with Lam Weng-sun, 72, Wong Suk-ching, 54, Leung Ho-ching, 41, Leung Po-wan, 39, and Chak Yuk-ming, 12, last August 15. Tour leader Ching Long-sing, of Citizens Travel, admitted in court that he found the boat 'obsolete and dangerous' and realised it did not have sufficient life jackets. But tourists were told to board the ship because Mr Ching dared not cancel the trip. It was his colleague Sally Ip, the Philippines-based guide who arranged the ill-fated cruise, who had reassured the tour group that the boat was safe. She was not at the inquest. A report revealed boat owner Rogelio Alenzuela, 52, and pilot Romeo Parcon, 24, had been found grossly negligent by accident investigators, who recommended their operators' permits be cancelled. The boat had been converted into a double-decker without approval and was almost three times overloaded, a prime cause for its sinking. Coroner Ian Thomas recorded a verdict of accidental death. He recommended a regulatory system for tour guides which could also provide them with proper training. Joseph Tung Yao-chung, of Hong Kong's Travel Industry Council, said guides would require a safety certificate, the Outboard Tour Escort Licence, from July next year.