Man, 70, dies in boat tragedy

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POLICE at the Kirakira Police Station in the Makira Ulawa Province are investigating the death of a 70-year-old male person after a ray boat powered by a 40-horsepower engine sunk after leaving Kirakira at 12 mid-day on 2 April 2021 on its way to Santa Ana Island.

There were nine people on board the boat including one female and a four-year-old.

Provincial Police Commander (PPC) Superintendent Peter Sitai says, “As the boat approached Manitopaga Point, West Wainoni, in East Makira, it started to experience rough seas with high swells. 

“The boat skipper decided to turn back for safety reasons.

“As the boat turned around, another wave came from behind and broke right on top of the canoe, which then dipped it. Attempts were made to salvage the sinking boat but failed.”

Sitai said the driver reportedly told all the passengers to swim together with the floating objects on the boat while he and the others will try to help them swim to the shore.

“However, the deceased in his 70s, had decided to swim ashore without everyone’s knowledge or help.

“He was unable to make it ashore as they only found his dead body floating near them.

“The rest of the passengers later landed safely ashore after swimming for about an hour,” says Sitai

He explains police at Kirakira were alerted about the incident and left in two outboard motorised boats after 2pm on 2 April to bring back the body of the deceased and the rest of the people travelling on the sunken boat back to Kirakira station late in the evening of the same day.”

The body of the deceased was taken to the hospital at Kirakira where he was confirmed dead by medical authorities there.

Health workers at the hospital also attended the rest of the passengers and released.

“My condolences to the family and relatives of the deceased for the tragic loss of their loved one.

“To my good people in Makira Ulawa Province, always check the weather before travelling out at sea. Do not overload your boats.

“Think safety first. If it is not safe, stay ashore,” says PPC Sitai.