NATION

Six Men Rescued After Being Adrift in Lomaiviti Waters

Samuela Kanainaliwa, 39, of Vuma Village on Ovalau Island was among the six men who were reported drifting at the Lomaiviti waters on Monday afternoon, January 15. They were rescued
16 Jan 2019 10:14
Six Men Rescued After Being Adrift in Lomaiviti Waters
Samuela Kanainaliwa.

Samuela Kanainaliwa, 39, of Vuma Village on Ovalau Island was among the six men who were reported drifting at the Lomaiviti waters on Monday afternoon, January 15.

They were rescued a few hours later.

The other five were Josaia Lavenikaibau, Jimi Radua, Simione Qoro, Samu Bechu and Joe Toma all between the ages of 28 to 35.

Mr Kanainaliwa, said they were blessed to be alive after swimming for more than two hours when their engine started to have problems.

The six men went out fishing at the Wakaya Reef and had left Levuka at about 9am on Monday in a fiberglass boat.

“We filled two gallons of benzene and departed for our fishing trip, but before we reached Wakaya Reef, our engine started giving problems,” he said.

“The engine failed twice so I figured that there was water in the benzene gallon so I changed the gallon and we continued fishing.”

He added that at about 3.05pm the six had left the Wakaya Reef enroute back to Levuka.

“After few minutes, our engine failed again and this time we could not start it,” he said.

“The second gallon also had water in it and this totally locked the engine.”

The six then started rowing back to Wakaya Island until they couldn’t row anymore and had to swim towards the reef pulling the boat along.

“We swam for more than two hours before we reached the reef and that’s when help arrived,” he said.

Mr Kanainaliwa said he made three calls before there was no network.

“I called my wife, Wakaya Island Resort and the Levuka Police Station and those were the last communication we had with those on land.”

They were rescued by the Wakaya Island Resort vessel and spent a night at their villa before heading back to Levuka yesterday.

“Vinaka Vakalevu to all those who helped in  locating us, especially to the Wakaya Resort staff and managers. Also to the rescue team,” he said. 

A Police team from Levuka along with the Navy Rescue Coordination Centre were also deployed  for the search.

Mr Kanainaliwa said it was a good lesson for them.

“This has taught us good lessons, one, is to obey the weather warnings when it says don’t go then don’t go, never go out at sea when you’re drunk and always be prepared,” he said.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback:  selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj

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