Missing five found floating outside Malou village
ALL hopes have diminished; search operation eased but the find outside Malou village in South Malaita early Thursday morning ended speculations that the missing five could have already been dead.
After spending six days at sea, all five were found alive by Malou villagers and were taken for treatment at Tawaro clinic in the area.
Deputy Director of Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Administration (SIMSA) Brian Aonima confirmed the five adult males have undergone dehydration treatment at a clinic in South Malaita after their rescue early Thursday morning.
The five left Ulawa Island in Makira Province last Friday, to Fanalei in Small Malaita, but failed to reach their destination.
The Solomon Star on Thursday spoke to the nurse at Tawaro clinic in South Malaita Michael Hou, who attended to the five.
Mr Hou said they were recovering well except for one would need to be transferred to Honiara for treatment.
“According to the men, they miscalculated their destination because they departed at dusk (early morning) which rendered poor vision and they eventually ran out of fuel when lost,” he said.
He said a young man from Malou sighted something floating in the distance early yesterday morning and decided to paddle to investigate.
“He reported the find to villagers who went out to rescue the men.”
Among the five was the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services.
They were mounted a ceremonial welcome at Kalana Anglican church yesterday by relatives, families and community members.
Police commissioner said it was a sigh of relief for families and relatives and also the search parties.
He said a very costly search was mounted after the boat was reported missing.
“The search was a very intensive one involving the use of the Police Participating Force (PPF) Helicopter, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force patrol boat Auki, Stabi craft from Auki, Outboard Motors from Makira and Maka as well as a passenger ship.
“It’s pleasing to confirm they are all safe and well.”
By AATAI JOHN & ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN