NEWS

Waiqori Villagers In Oneata Rescue German Family From Sinking Yacht

A German family is safe in Suva after their sailing yacht hit an object and took in water in the Oneata waters last Saturday.  The skipper of the yacht, Nick
21 Sep 2018 16:10
Waiqori Villagers In Oneata Rescue German Family From Sinking Yacht
The Pichler family at the Captain Stanley Brown base in Suva. Photo: FMRCC

A German family is safe in Suva after their sailing yacht hit an object and took in water in the Oneata waters last Saturday.

 The skipper of the yacht, Nick Pichler in a video interview released by the Fiji Navy said the ordeal was a ‘nightmare’ for his young family.

 He commended the collaboration of Waiqori villagers and the Fiji Navy.

“We thank the villagers of Oneata, it was a nightmare for us.

“Also we went to church with them and everyone came and spoke with us. After one day we all felt better in mind because it was a dramatic experience and everyone was crying, the children crying.

“But it was like a therapy to be with them.”

The Pichler family at the Fiji Navy's Captain Stanley Brown base in Suva.

The Pichler family at the Fiji Navy’s Captain Stanley Brown base in Suva.

A report by the Fiji Navy said the sailing yacht sunk at Oneata on Saturday, 15 September 2018.

A Search and Rescue operation was co-ordinated by the Fiji Maritime Surveillance Rescue and Coordination Centre (FMSRCC) in collaboration with Rescue Coordination Centre Germany, Ministry of Health (MoH), Fiji Police Force and Tuimasi, the village headman of Waiqori Village, Oneata.

The report said: “At 7.09am on Saturday 15 September, the FMSRCC was notified by RCC Germany via a call regarding a sailing vessel Mango which encountered engine problems and was taking in water which was approximately 0.23NM North West of Oneata Island.

“The FMSRCC activated the case and began with its coordination responsibilities.

“The Centre contacted Waiqori village and spoke with Mr Tuimasi the village headman who rendered assistance using his fibreglass boat.”

 The FMRCC were updated at 12.45pm by Mr Tuimasi that they had rescued the four crew of SV Mango and were taken to the nursing station for a medical check-up.

Mr Pichler told the Center that he had contacted the Germany RCC through a satellite phone after the sailing yacht started to take in water early Saturday morning.

There were 4 people on board Mr Pichler’s his wife Isabel, Eric Pichler (8years old) and Sophie Pichler(6 years old).

The 4 people rescued were accommodated at Waiqori village before they were picked up by RFNS Kula at 5 pm Tuesday 18 September. They arrived in Suva on Wednesday.

Border agencies were contacted to conduct the necessary verification before they were handed over to Dave Aidney the Honorary Counselor General for Germany based here in Suva.

Mr Pichler said he was grateful to see that Search and Rescue works well all over the world, including in remote islands like Oneata.



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