Two men from the Solomon Islands experienced a 29-day loss at sea after the GPS tracker they were using stopped working. According to the Guardian, they were found in Papua New Guinea, 400 kilometers from their place of origin.
Livae Nanjikana and Junior Qoloni left Mono Island in the Solomon Islands on the morning of September 3 in a small motorboat. They planned to travel the 200 km to Nuru on the island of New Georgia.
“We’ve done the trip before and you should be fine,” Nanjikana said. However, the sea area in which they were located was usually unpredictable and violent, and with only a few hours of traveling, the couple encountered rain and strong winds, which made crossing even more difficult.
“When the bad weather came, it was bad, but it got worse and it got scary when the GPS ‘off’,” he said. “We couldn’t see our destination, so we decided to turn off the engine and wait to save fuel.”
Nanjikana NS Al-Qoluni spent nearly a month living on the oranges they had packed for the trip, collecting coconuts and rainwater, which they had picked up using a piece of cloth. Rescue came only when they spotted a fisherman off the coast of New Britain in Papua New Guinea.
“We didn’t know where we were, but we didn’t expect to be in another country,” he said.
They arrived in the town of Pomeo on October 2, very weak and were taken to a nearby house for medical care from a local clinic in the following days. Islander Joe Colello told Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation that the couple are doing well.
“I’m looking forward to going home, but I think it was a good break from it all,” he commented. Nanjikana
Marie Wallenia, head of the Solomon Islands Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s office, based in Papua New Guinea, said they were in contact with Nangikana to ensure that arrangements were made for the two men’s repatriation.
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