Saved after 7 days at sea


Three men, who left Madang for Manus on a dinghy, drifted for seven days and emerged in West Sepik.
The trio are now at Aitape in West Sepik and in contact with their families and the disaster office in Madang for their return.
Paul Pomat, 61, Bob Mosin, 40, and Isaac Pokiap, 22, all from Manus had loaded 25 bags of betel nuts, a 200 litre drum of fuel and another eight 20-litre containers and left Madang on Oct 5 at around 5.30am.
Pomat said in a telephone interview yesterday that they travelled  well during the day but there were very strong winds and rough seas at night so they pulled into Pedi Island.
He said on Oct 6 they wanted to travel to Lorengau but the strong winds and waves overturned their dinghy.
Pomat said they unloaded all the bags of betelnut, drum and tied the fuel containers to the dinghy to keep it afloat.
He said while doing that, they drifted further away from Lorengau.
They saw two vessels and signalled but no one on both vessels saw them.
“We only had a compass and that didn’t help us,” Pomat said.
They drifted for three days and saw a Russian vessel and signalled for help.
The vessel was 60 miles away from the nearest island in Western Manus and could not go back so the captain gave them fuel, food supplies for two weeks and a copy of the map and which direction to travel.
Pomat said they travelled as instructed but ran out of fuel and were carried south west by the strong current. “We saw some fishing boats and signalled for help but they took off, maybe they thought we were pirates,” he said.
He said last Tuesday at 6.30am some other poeple saw them and gave them fuel and told them to travel to West Sepik. They arrived in Swain in Aitape at midday. Madwang disaster office director Rudolf Mongallee said he was making arrangements to fly them back.

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