TWO CANOEISTS, ONE SURFER NARROWLY ESCAPE DEATH AT SEA IN SOCIETY ISLANDS

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PAPEETE, French Polynesia (October 5, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---Three teenagers, two of them on canoes and one surfer, were rescued on Monday after they had ignored rough weather and sea warnings in the Society Islands (west of here), RFO-radio reports.

The rough weather, causing waves of up to five meters (16.5 feet), had triggered a warning from the meteorological office here, relayed by radio, newspapers and television.

But three teenagers ignored the warnings and decided to go at sea.

"Two canoe paddlers and one surfer decided to go at sea, with swells of four to five meters. The surfer was very quickly pulled to the open sea. He was rescued by a villager in neighboring Paia, who saw him and used his canoe to get him," gendarme adjutant Veinard said.

"This man took a very big risk in saving this poor boy who, when he came back, was exhausted and in a state of shock. He saw death from very near."

Police and their gendarmes called on the population to listen to weather warnings carefully and not to go out at sea in rough weather.

The rough weather and four-meter high waves also caused damage in the Australes and Wayward islands (southwest of here), where a wall was destroyed and a dozen houses flooded.

"We'd never seen anything like this before," a villager told RFO.

High tides in the lagoons, as well as strong currents, were being experienced in the region.

This bulletin was produced by the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA). Editor: Patrick Antoine Decloitre For more information, contact Nina Ratulele, PINA Administrator, at pina@is.com.fj 

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