Search still on for missing fishermen

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 25th July, 2012

A SEARCH is still underway for two men who went missing off Fisherman Island, near Port Moresby last Friday, island community leader Moale Vagi said yesterday.
Gima Vagi, 40, a father of five, and Motu Ali, 14, a student of Moukele Primary School, were last seen on a 23ft dinghy trawling past Idiha Island last Friday morning.
“The missing persons could have been swept by strong currents as the weather was turning bad when they left land,” Vagi said.He said since then, search parties had been dispatched as far as Kairuku but they had all returned with no news of any sightings.Vagi said the Lancron Naval base was told of the missing duo but only helped by providing fuel as their vessels were under repair.He said attempts to seek help from the National Disaster office were unsuccessful as the office was empty when they went there.
Vagi said the police were told but because of the elections, they were not of much help.
He said the community appreciated the efforts of Helifix owner Robert Agarobe, who provided a light aircraft that searched the area.In a combined effort, the community and the church have gathered K20,000 which would be used to send a six-man team to Kerema by road and a five-man team to Daru by air for further searches.Vagi called on the relevant authorities and the Foreign Affairs Department to alert their Australian counterparts as he believed they could be drifting in Australian waters.
He said relatives and church members in Daru and Kerema had not responded to their search queries.
Vagi appealed to anyone with information on sightings of the missing pair to contact him on 7693 1858 or Keimelo Gima on 7656 8177.