SOS Phone Call Saves 10 People Stranded At Sea For Five Hours

This is after the boat they were travelling in started taking on sea water and began to sink.
24 May 2022 04:02
SOS Phone Call Saves 10 People Stranded At Sea For Five Hours
A villager keeps warm one of the survivors, Monika Masi after being rescued by Turtle Island staff on May 19, 2022. Photo: Turtle Island

If it wasn’t for that one last phone call to her loved ones at Vuaki Village in Yasawa, Seini Naio and her family wouldn’t have been rescued.

Ms Naio, 29, her husband, Iowane Tabualevu, 25, her sister-in-law, Monika Masi, Nasomolevu Catholic Church parish priest, Father Iowane Koroi and six others were fortunate to be rescued by staff from Turtle Island last Thursday night.

This is after the boat they were travelling in started taking on sea water and began to sink.


Ms Naio and Mr Tabualevu arrived in Lautoka on Wednesday to purchase their attire and other materials for their wedding last Friday.

While returning to the village on Thursday they left the Lautoka Wharf at 2pm.

An emotional Ms Naio recalled what happened.


“We were still travelling and noticed the boat sinking, the boat did not capsize it was just filled with sea water,” she said.

“We had to jump off the boat and the priest called out to distribute the lifejackets.”

“While we were swimming, the priest asked if anyone had a phone to make a call to the island for someone to come and rescue us and I remembered I left my phone in the pencil case, which was water-proof and it was inside another plastic.”


“That plastic was floating away, one boy swam to get that plastic and he opened it and I made a call to someone in the village to come and rescue us.”

“I couldn’t dial any number properly because my hands were wet; I only managed to press 844 and a contact appeared and that was when I called and asked her for help.”

She said they were out at sea for almost five hours.


“I was only thinking about my one-year-old daughter, Serafina Ranadi – that phone call saved us.”

Ms Naio lost everything she purchased that day, amounting close to about $2,000.

She said it came to a point when Father Iowane gave the group their final blessings.


“While out at sea Father Ioane told us to hold hands and he gave us his final blessing in case we didn’t make it.”

It was at 7.20pm when Turtle Island boat captain, Maika Navuniivi and resort manager Bill Mualele and resort head of security Apete Leko found the group.

A relative with them Benedito Sadole swam to the rescue boat to notify them.


They acknowledged the assistance by staff of Turtle Island.

Turtle Island, Chief Executive Officer, Richard Evanson Jr said: “Turtle Island is always ready and willing to help our community when we are in a position to do so.”

“We are extremely grateful to the efforts of our Captain Maika, who has on many occasions managed to.”


The couple was also grateful to the villagers for providing the remaining items for their wedding attire.

They were joined by close family and friends on their wedding day last Friday.

“It is something which I will never forget,” Ms Naio said.

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