SOLOMON Star reporter Jeremy Inifiri says he was amazed to see a 10-year-old boy he photographed while being taken away by the Mataniko river in last Thursday’s flooding survived the flooding.
“We’ll I’m glad Patrick Beni survived because I thought he won’t as the flood waters took him away,” Mr Inifiri said.
Patrick’s incredible story of survival was featured on the front page of the Solomon Star yesterday.
He lost his mother, two brothers, and his baby sister when the floods swept away their Koa Hill home.
Mr Inifiri was out on assignment at the old Manatiko bridge during the flooding when he noticed a young lad floating down the river on what looked like an eskie.
“There were many other things like logs, timbers, house roofs and people being carried down the river during the flood,” Mr Inifiri said.
“And then, I noticed this young boy floating down towards the bridge, which is still intact at that time.
“You can see the fear on his face as he approached the huge pile of debris stacked against the bridge. Things happened so fast so I quickly captured this young lad on the camera.
“And then he disappeared and I thought he’s gone. It was heart breaking to see a helpless young man gone under the bridge and disappeared.
“There were many others who came floating and disappeared under the bridge. But I vividly remember young Patrick.
“Those of us standing near the bridge could not help due to the strong waters,” Mr Inifiri said.
Later in the evening when he visited the National Referral Hospital to check on the number of victims, Mr Inifiri noticed a young lad who was brought in there as a survivor.
But he didn’t realise it was Patrick, whom he had captured his photo while floating down the river.
When the Solomon Star interviewed Patrick about his incredible story of survival, Mr Inifiri checked his photos and realised he was the young lad he had in his camera.
“All I can say now is I’m glad Patrick had survived. I thought he has no chances of survival but God has a plan for him and I wish him all the best in his future.”