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15 missing, one dead in Solomon Islands

Fifteen people are still missing in Solomon Islands when their boat capsized in bad weather on Wednesday while traveling from West Are’are, Malaita province to Marau, east Guadalcanal.

Police in Marau have so far rescued eight of the 23 people mostly youths that travelled in the boat.

The youths traveled in two separate boats.

They are from Uhu, in West Are’are, and decided to travel across to Marau to conduct their fundraising activity to support their church building project.

Commanding Officer of Marau Station, George Piri confirmed the incident to Solomon Star and said they managed to locate only eight but sadly, one of them has died.

“We have managed to rescue eight of them floating near Kopiu area in the Weathercoast,” Piri said.

He said a boy was rescued by a team of engineers from Our Telekom who are working on a tower there.

Piri said there were two boats traveling to Marau.

“The first one arrived safely while the last one met rough seas and may have capsized.”

The first boat arrived with about 21 people onboard.

The last boat was carrying 23 people which include four adults and 19 youths, he said.

“They want to come and do their fundraising here at the Marau market today (Thursday) mainly for their church building.

“However, their plan never worked out as they were caught in the bad weather. It’s a sad situation,” Piri said.

Marau Police with the help of the Search and Rescue team will again be out in the sea today to look for the remaining ones.

He said that the sea is rough and the current strong in the area.

About nine boats were involved in the search Thursday.

Piri said the seven survivors are currently under medical attention at the Marau clinic.

Piri is appealing to people living along the coast of Ulawa, Ugi, West Makira, South Malaita, North East Guadalcanal and nearby islands to be on a look out.

It is understood that traveling between Are’Are and Marau is common because of their close blood and cultural connections. SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR
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