Man survives 15 days at sea

National, Normal

AN East New Britain man, who survived a 15-day sea ordeal, arrived safely in Honiara yesterday.
Peter Vomne got lost on Jan 9 before he was found by villagers in Choiseul, Solomon Islands on Jan 24.
According to his statement given to Gizo police in Western province before his departure, Mr Vomne travelled from his village of Sampun to Kilahum village to uplift a canoe.
This was in order to pick up four teachers to transport to Kokopo town.
“While I was heading back to Sampun village late in the afternoon, a wave pushed the canoe onto the rocks at Sampun beach,” he said.
“The fuel tank on board the canoe was washed out by the waves. I managed to push the canoe out to sea and bail out the water.”
Mr Vomne said he started the engine again and it worked for a short while before it stopped running due to lack of fuel.
“I tried to paddle towards the shore using a piece of wood but the current was too strong and took my canoe out to sea,” he said.
On Sunday Jan 10, Mr Vomne said he could still see the land.
“I tried calling out for help but was too far out,” he said.
Eventually Mr Vomne lost sight of the New Britain island.
For the next 10 days, he did not see any land.
“To keep me alive, I drank rain water, using a canvas to capture the water and storing it in a container,” he said.
“I was not able to catch any fish for food during my ordeal.”
Mr Vomne said two days before he reached Choiseul on this side of the border, he managed to find a coconut floating in the sea and had food for the first time.
On Jan 24 late in the evening, Mr Vomne saw an island and the current took him in that direction.
“I used the canvas as a sail to get to the island.
“I anchored the canoe on Sobeke island and slept that night,” he said.
Mr Vomne said in the morning he paddled to Edeve island where he found a family that assisted him.
“They gave me food and water.
“The name of the person who helped me is Galo Nalo,” he said.
Mr Vomne was taken to Posarae village. Emily Tutu’a was the nurse who examined him and decided to refer him to Gizo hospital.
Mr Vomne, 40, is a primary school teacher in East New Britain province.
He is married with six children.
Mr Vomne thanked everyone for helping him return to PNG.