POLICE in Temotu rescued eight people last Sunday aboard a fibreglass boat after drifting at sea for hours.
The 60-horse engine powered boat left Lata on Santa Cruz the day before enroute to the outer island of Vanikoro when it developed mechanical problem.
Provincial Police Commander (PPC) of Temotu Province, Superintendent James Toaki said the boat developed engine problems after three hours of travelling.
“Both clamps of the engine broke down around 6:30pm as it headed for Utupua Island,” Toaki said.
“The passengers – seven men and a woman – faced sea currents but were lucky they drifted back to Santa Cruz Island where they managed to get mobile coverage and called for help,” he added.
Toaki said police in Lata were alerted of the incident on Saturday night.
“A police rescue team was sent and my officers managed to locate the boat and the passengers around 10am the next day.
“The boat was adrift outside Cape Mendana on the south-eastern part of Santa Cruz Island.”
Toaki reminded the public to always take precaution when travelling at sea.
“Do not travel at night in small boats at sea as it is always risky to do so when visibility is a problem.
“Inform your family or friends when you leave on your travel especially when using outboard motor (OBM) boats.
“Make sure your boats have all the necessary equipment before embarking on any trip.
“The necessary equipment includes extra paddles, life jackets, enough fuel, the engine is operational with its kit, water and maybe food to eat during travel and any means to communicate like mobile phone with fully charged batteries.
“If possible, have a GPS device on board your boat to guide you when visibility is poor.
“Your safety is important. Put your safety first.”
Toaki commended his officers for the rescue of the passengers and the boat.
He also thanked people who assisted in the rescue through the use of their private engines and boats.