Police rescue 8 people in drifting boat

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Officers of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in Lata, Temotu Province have successfully rescued a fibreglass boat which had been drifting at sea with eight people on-board in the Temotu Province on Sunday 8 December 2019. 

Provincial Police Commander (PPC) of Temotu Province, Superintendent James Toaki explains: “A police rescue team was sent after police at Lata received a report on Saturday night (7 December). Officers managed to locate the boat and the passengers around 10am the next day (Sunday 8 December). The boat was adrift outside Cape Mendana on the south-eastern part of Santa Cruz Island. There were seven men and a female, all adults, on board the boat.”

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“Do not travel at night in small boats at sea as it is always risky to do so when visibility is a problem. Inform your family or friends when you leave on your travel especially when using outboard motor (OBM) boats.  Your safety is important. Put your safety first,” says PPC Toaki.   

“I would like to commend my officers for the rescue of the passengers and the boats. And I would like to caution boat owners to make sure their boats have all the necessary equipment before embarking on any trip.”

The necessary equipment include extra paddles, life jackets, enough fuel, the engine is operational with its kit, water and maybe food to eat during travel and any means to communicate like mobile phone with fully charged batteries. If possible, have a GPS device on board your boat to guide you when visibility is poor.

The drifting boat was powered by a 60hp engine when it left Lata on Santa Cruz Island around 3pm on Saturday 7 December 2019 with the intention to travel to Vanikoro Island about 100 nautical miles from Santa Cruz Island.

It is alleged the boat encountered an engine problem after three hours of travelling. Both clamps of the engine broke down around 6:30pm as it headed for Utupua Island.

The passengers allegedly faced sea currents but were lucky they drifted back to Santa Cruz Island where they managed to get mobile coverage and called for help. Police at Lata also thanked people who assisted in the rescue through the use of their private engines and boats.

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