The National, Friday, May 13, 2011
By JAYNE SAFIHAO
MECHANICAL failure and rough seas have been blamed for the deaths of the district administrator for Sumkar and a youth after the dinghy they were travelling in from Karkar, was swamped by huge waves on Tuesday afternoon near Kinim.
District administrator Chapau Lilih, in his late 60s, had boarded the boat with five others.
They were 10m from the reef when the dinghy’s engine cut off.
Karkar local level government president Bagger Wamm said the boat then rode metre high waves while those aboard tried to restart the engine.
“A huge wave suddenly swamped the dinghy, causing it to sink,” he said.
“Lilih was submerged but had floated back up, removed his clothing and swam to the shore in shorts.
“He was walking on the reef to the shore and developed breathing problems at the beach and was rushed to Gaubin,” he said.
Wamm said Lilih was pronounced dead at Gaubin.
He said Lilih was a hard worker who had brought about many positive developments to Karkar during his term as administrator, including rolling out the K10 million district services improvement plan (DSIP).
He said the island and Sumkar were going to miss a man of Lilih’s nature.
Sumkar MP Ken Fairweather also sent his condolences from overseas.