Seven missing in fishing trip disaster

National, Normal

The National, Thursday July 11th, 2013

 SEVEN people are missing at sea off Daru, Western, after a dinghy ferrying 10 people on a fishing expedition capsized last Sunday.

The dinghy was ferrying men from villages located along the Fly River coast back from the fishing trip when the accident occurred.

Provincial police commander Silva Sika said the 10 men had been returning from a fishing trip at around 5pm and travelling through the Mun Gap when the dinghy capsized.

“The fishermen had ventured into Australian waters and were retuning when the accident occurred,” he said.

“Three of them are from Samari village, three from Madame, three from Wabata and the skipper of the dinghy is from Mabudawan.”

The 20ft-dinghy powered by a 50HPW engine.

“There are several factors considered as behind the cause of the dinghy capsizing, including the weather, the swell, the size of the dinghy and the number of passengers and the location at which the dinghy capsized, which is known for huge swells mainly caused by nearby reefs close to the shoreline,” Sika said.

Three men managed to swim some distance into Mabudawan, along the coast. 

They were then taken to Daru General Hospital for treatment and were in custody for their safety. 

Sika said the dinghy operator was one of the survivors and was in custody as police investigations continued.

“A search operation was conducted by locals from the area soon after the accident was reported.”

Sika urged relatives of the deceased to let police investigations continue and they should not take the law into their hands.

“I am appealing to the public to heed weather patterns and forecasts before venturing out to sea.”