A passenger was reported to be missing from Fair Lady believed to fall off the boat last night from its trip from the Western Province back to Honiara.
The male passage, 23, was travelling with his father and brother from Gizo but was only found missing opposite Visale on Guadalcanal when the crew were checking for tickets from the travelers.
Speaking exclusively to SBMOnline on the arrival of the boat in Honiara today, one of the skippers’ Sebestine Tatanga said the passenger could have fallen off the ship between Bunialo and Mary Island.
Bunikalo is the last port in the Western Port before the ship set sail for Honiara.
Tatanga said they had spoken to the boy’s father and they were on board when the ship left Bunikalo.
“The wind was not strong— it ranged between 15 to 20 knots. So it was not rough and very difficult for such a strong boy to be swept into the sea,” said Tatanga.
He said usually when passengers fell off the boat—they typically shout for help and passengers would call for the boat to turn around and pick them up.
He said this was not the case.
Tatanga said from reports they got from the boy’s father had told him that he wanted to go and sleep so he had left him to sleep in one part of the ship.
He said it was not until they checked for tickets that his father realized that the boy was not with his brother who was also on the boat.
“This was already in Visale,” he said.
As a result, they carried out a search into the ship and all the rooms but they could not find him.
On arrival, they carried out further searches on boat but they could not locate him. The ship carried more than 200 passengers on the trip this morning.
Tatanga and his colleague had already reported the matter to police and the Solomon Islands Maritime Authority (SIMA) to help search for the missing person.
The missing person is of Temotu and Western Province parentage.