Police have recovered a female body yesterday (4 January 2022), and confirmed that she is one of the fourteen passengers that went missing after their boat failed to reach their destination.

The body was recovered from Zinoa Island in the Vouza area in North West Choiseul. Police transported the body back to Taro as search for the other passengers continued.

Assistant Commissioner (AC) National Operation Ms. Evelyn Thugea says, “A close relative has identified the dead body and confirmed she is one of the passengers on board the 75 horse powered engine that has gone missing recently.

AC Thugea says, “The dead body started to decompose but a tattoo written at the back and the upper left arm was still visible to identify the body.”

Reports have also stated that several debris from the boat were also recovered, which included personal items and petrol containers.

Police have received information that two boats left Gizo to Harapa in the Short land Islands to conduct a burial.

A boat with a 75 horse powered engine somehow did not reach its destination as expected with 14 people on board while twin 40-horse powered engines managed to reach Taro.

Based on the information police received from the other boat they say that they encountered fine weather and midway between Vella Island and Shorthand Islands in the afternoon both they met bad weather.

A police search party was dispatched on 2nd January 2022, and it was only yesterday that they recovered the dead body.

Police extend their condolence to the immediate family members for the loss of their loved one. A joint Operation continues for the missing people.

Police re-emphasize the importance of putting safety first when traveling at sea, especially long distances in open sea.

Police reminds the public of safety points to remember before traveling:
• Plan your trip and at least let a member of your family know where you are going and what time you expect to arrive;
• Check the weather on SIBC or call the Met Service on the toll free 933; or phones 36310 or 24219.
• If you start your trip and the weather becomes bad, seek shelter until the sea is calm;
• Make sure your boat is seaworthy and your OBM is serviced and maintained;
• Know your skipper. Make sure they are experienced in driving boats;
• Do not overload your boat
• Wear life jackets. Take food and water, paddles, first aid kit, anchor and rope, mirror to signal others, tools, bucket, torch, phone, flares and EPIRB;
• Take extra fuel;
• If your skipper is drunk, do not go with them or let them control the boat; and
• If you require help, at sea call the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) on phone 21609 or 27685 or the toll free phone 977; or call the RSIPF National Communication Centre on phone 23666 or the toll free phone 999.
Safety at sea starts with you. IF YOU ARE NOT TOO SURE, STAY ASHORE

Source: RSIPF media