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Parents Happy Missing Fisherman Rescued

Parents Happy Missing Fisherman Rescued
Sepesa Ratabakau ann wife Mereoni Biu with two sons three year old Kaminieli Ratabakau and Josevata Ratabakau at Nakalou village yesteday. PHOTO:PENI DRAUNA
April 21
11:30 2016

The parents of missing fisherman Reginald Ratabakau are delighted he has been found.

Mother Mereseini Biu thanked God for saving him.

“I am very happy as I have been praying every day.

“He is very active boy and always helps in chores at home.

“He suffered a stroke 13 years ago,” she said.

Father Sepesa Ratabakau said they could not wait to see him.

“If he is not in good health, we will feed him veges and seafood,” Mr Ratabakau said.

Commercial fishermen rescued Reginald, 18, also known as Oreti, yesterday morning as he drifted. Police have sketchy details where he was found only to say “in Fiji waters”.

Reginald has been missing for nine days at sea, after he accompanied some friends as a “boat boy” when they went to dive for beach-de-mer.

While they dived, Reginald looked after the boat.

But the boat started drifting because of strong winds. When the three men surfaced the boat had drifted far so they swam back to their village in a marathon swim that took them 17 hours to reach shore.

The four friends, Waisale Tuqara, Peni Mototava, Neumi Lagilagi and Isimeli Bukalidi said they looked forward to see Reginald.

Mr Tuqara said villagers had been blaming them after Reginald disappeared.

“The family blame us because we know very well of his previous medical history yet we still took him,” Mr Tuqara said.

He said this incident had taught them a lesson to never go out fishing during strong winds near Cakaubalavu Reef in  Macuata waters.

Police Spokesperson Inspector Josaia Wecavu thanked Ariana Ltd and its fishing vessels for rescuing Reginald.

He also thanked the media for raising the alarm about Reginald.

He advised fishermen not to go out and risk their lives during strong winds.

“Our advice to mariners especially those that will be using fibre outboard is to practise safety at all times,” Inspector Wecavu said.

He said it was vital that they inform their loved ones on land of their departure and expected time of arrival and take safety equipment like safety jackets at all times.


Edited by Nemani Delaibatiki


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