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July 12, 2017

‘Boat People’ share survival stories coming to Canada 40 years ago

Nhu Van Nguyen steered a wooden boat w/ 90+ people fleeing Vietnam. (Kristin Nelson/CBC)

“I have to gamble with my life for the freedom.” – Nhu Van Nguyen

It was April 30th, 1975, forty years ago, that the last U.S. helicopter slipped over the horizon on the outskirts of Saigon, and unceremoniously signaled the end of the Vietnam War. Within 24 hours, on May Day, as they’d planned it, the North Vietnamese flag went up over the Presidential Palace, and Saigon officially became Ho Chi Minh City.

But it took much longer for hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese to start new lives… Over the next four years, they clamoured onto boats headed for virtually anywhere.

Listen to these stories here.