Winds hamper search

Main Stories, National

The National, Monday 06th Febuary 2012

STRONG winds have forced rescuers to suspend their aerial search for survivors of the mv Rabaul Queen ferry disaster as hopes fade for the more than 100 people still missing.
National Maritime Safety Authority yesterday said a fifth body had been found, four days after the vessel sank with more than 350 people on board while travelling overnight from Kimbe, in West New Britain province, to Lae.
Authorities said 246 people survived.
“There is a high degree of confidence that if there are any active survivors or persons inside life rafts or with lifejackets within the search area that they would have been sighted and recovered by now,” the NMSA said in a statement.
“Strong winds have forced the Papua New Guinea Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre to suspend the aerial search for survivors of the mv Rabaul Queen.”
The search was suspended at 3pm.
Survivors of what is being called one of PNG’s worst maritime disasters told journalists in Lae about their fight to escape the 22-tonne Japanese
vessel after it was smashed by huge waves before capsizing.
Seven people were taken to Angau Memorial Hospital, three of them with serious injuries. – AAP