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MISSING 7: T-shirts Found, Search For Mariners Suspended

Two T-shirts and a boat seat were spotted yesterday by the search and rescue team before they called off the search for seven people who went missing at sea while
31 Dec 2018 13:03
MISSING 7: T-shirts Found, Search For Mariners Suspended
A member of the Fiji Navy Search and Rescue team during the search for the seven missing men. Photo: FMSRCC

Two T-shirts and a boat seat were spotted yesterday by the search and rescue team before they called off the search for seven people who went missing at sea while heading from Levuka to Gau last Wednesday.

Mata-ni-Tikina of Sawaieke in Gau, Kelepi Delai Mataitoga, confirmed this to the Fiji Sun.

He said a blue and a white T-shirt were located, but they did not receive any further information from the search team as yet.

However, one of the village boys who was drinking with the seven before they left for Levuka identified the T-shirts. Mr Mataitoga added the boy recalled that Filimoni Tuisinu was wearing the blue T-shirt and Livai Bulimaibau was wearing the white one. They would be briefed by the search and rescue team today, he said.

Meanwhile, the seven left Nawaikama Village in Gau on a yellow fibreglass boat for Levuka on Ovalau on Wednesday morning at about 5am to do some shopping, but failed to return. It was confirmed that they had arrived and left Levuka on the same day. The boat was spotted at 4pm on Friday during an aerial search.

It was submerged in Bau waters, between Moturiki and Naloto, Verata. The orange colour of the interior of boat and the outer yellow colour were spotted easily by aerial searchers. Mr Mataitoga said when the boat was spotted he assumed that the seven were going to Suva.

The missing seven are Josevata Bolatakeu, Navitalai Bale, Alipate Ross, Filimone Tuisinu, Livai Bulimaibau, Ananaisa Koroi and Adriu George.

Police Chief Operations Officer ACP Maretino Qiolevu had also confirmed that yesterday was the last day for the search because of the unfavourable weather.

Edited by Epineri Vula

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