Close shave for wedding shoppers

Villagers being rescued after the boat capsized at sea while returning from Lautoka to Vuaki village in Yasawa. Picture: SUPPLIED

Eight people were rescued after their boat capsized at sea while returning from Lautoka to Vuaki Village in Yasawa from a wedding shopping trip.

In a statement, Turtle Island Resort said the resort night man Apete Leko had responded to a call from Vuaki Village reporting a capsized fibreglass boat.

“We learned that the boat capsized around 3pm,” the statement read.

“Fortunately one of the people aboard the boat, the bride to be, Seini Naio, was able to call her parents in Vuaki Village notifying them of their dire situation.

“Our CEO and managing director, Richard Evanson, upon request for assistance, had immediately approved to send the resort’s fishing boat to commence a search and rescue mission.

“The operation was coordinated from Turtle Island dock station by resort guest services manager Bill Mualele, resort head of security Apete Leko and boat captain Maika Navunivi.”

The statement read after an extensive three and half-hour search, the boat captain located a floating object which appeared to be the esky that one of the passengers, Seini Naio, was holding on to.

“It was at 7.20pm after 4 hours of being capsized. Our captain Maika and crew of Turtle Island Resort’s marine vessel heard voices shouting for help and hands waving from the water.

“They arrived at the location where all eight passengers were scattered out as the waves were too strong for them to hold on to the capsized boat.

“Our team transported those eight passengers to the nearest Health Centre located at Yaqeta Village where they were all given warm clothes and were seen by the medical staff.”

The chief operations officer Assistant Commissioner of Police, Abdul Khan confirmed all occupants were medically checked at the Yaqeta Health Centre and were in good health. “Our sincere appreciation to the Turtle Island Resort management for responding to the request for assistance,” ACP Khan said.

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