Thu, Feb 13, 2020 - Page 4 News List

Four survive 32 days adrift at sea

PACIFIC OCEAN:Survivor Dominic Stally said those who survived the capsizing of their small boat floated in remote waters at the mercy of powerful currents

AFP, WELLINGTON

Four people survived a month adrift in the Pacific Ocean by eating coconuts and drinking rainwater in an ordeal that claimed the lives of eight of their companions, including a baby, reports said yesterday.

The group, from Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Bougainville, are believed to have spent 32 days at sea.

The Solomon Star News reported that the group set off from Bougainville on Dec. 22 last year, intending to celebrate Christmas in the Carteret Islands, about 100km away.

However, survivor Dominic Stally said that their small boat capsized and a number of the group drowned.

The rest managed to right the vessel, but there were further fatalities as they floated in the remote waters at the mercy of powerful ocean currents.

“We could do nothing with their dead bodies, we just have to let go of them at sea,” he told the newspaper. “A couple have died and left behind their baby, and I am the one who held onto the baby and later the baby died as well.”

Stally said a number of fishing vessels passed nearby without noticing them until they were finally picked up on Jan. 23 off New Caledonia after drifting about 2,000km.

The Star News reported that two men, a woman and a girl aged about 12 survived.

On Saturday last week, they were dropped off at Honiara, Solomon Islands, and were discharged into the care of PNG High Commissioner John Balavu after receiving treatment for dehydration.

Balavu and medics at the Honiara hospital were not immediately available for comment.

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