FOUR police officers and a chief of Atori, East Malaita, survived when their canoe capsized due to rough seas last week.
They were on their way to attend to an incident in the area.
According to reports received, the five were on their way to Ambe in north Malaita when they met the heavy storm which eventually capsized their boat near Fokona Kafo in East Kwara’ae around mid-morning, Tuesday 17 June.
Drifting out into the open sea for more than 30 minutes and with land miles away, they then decided to try and turn the capsized boat around with it being their only hope of survival.
“We knew that if we didn’t do anything, we would have drifted far into the open and then we would be in big trouble,” Police Officer Michael Ramosaea recalled.
“That was when we did whatever we could to try and turn the boat around.
“We did that for more than 30 minutes and then finally we managed to get the boat around.
“One of us then jumped in and started bailing out water from the boat and as the water decreases, another jumped in to help.
“When it was enough for all of us to get in, we then jumped in just to be safe from being drifted out into the open,” Mr Ramosaeasaid.
He added that as they were all safe in the boat, they tried starting the engine (outboard motor).
Mr Ramosaea said that as soon as the OBM started, they were all relieved, adding that they headed straight for land.
“We were all deeply relieved when the OBM started successfully. Most of us knew then on that we could still survive this death scare,” Mr Ramosaea said.
He said none of them was seriously injured except for minor injuries sustained during the ordeal.
By JEREMY INIFIRI and WILLIAM EKOTANI