Island News

Missing Eight At Sea Found Had No Idea Search And Rescue Was Activated

They had run out of fuel and were waiting on a relative to bring them more fuel, when they were discovered, spokesperson Sigavata said.
29 Feb 2020 09:33
Missing Eight At Sea Found Had No Idea Search And Rescue Was Activated
Viliame Sigavata at Vuniivi Settlement. Behind him is the make-shift shed where a birthday celebration will be hosted. Photo: Maika Bolatiki

A member of the group of eight men who were found after being reported as missing at sea confirmed to Island Beat that they were not missing or adrift.

Viliame Sigavata, who spoke on behalf of the group, said they ran out of fuel when they sailed past Beqa Island.

“They were not missing or drifting. They were just waiting for fuel to arrive from a relative who was fishing closer to them,” he said.

The group was travelling to Suva from Naqara Village on Ono island, which is off Kadavu Island, to attend a 21st birthday celebration at Vuniivi Settlement in Veisari.

The group left the island at 5am and were expected to arrive in Suva at around 10am or 11am.

“They called a relative who was fishing closer to us and he was bringing them fuel. They were not aware that the search and rescue was activated.

“They also don’t know who called and alerted the Police that they were missing.”

The search and rescue (SAR) was activated to locate the group on Wednesday when Police received a call alerting them that the group had missed their estimated time of arrival (ETA), Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said.

The group was found at 5pm.

Ms Naisoro also said the relative who called the Police was worried about the group because they failed to arrive at the expected time.

When Island Beat visited Vuniivi Settlement on Thursday the group of eight men were busy preparing the shed for the birthday celebration.

They return to Naqara next week.

Edited by Naisa Koroi


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