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By Therese Pidik

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, August 10) – Seven people are still missing while three survived a sea ordeal between East New Britain and New Ireland last Tuesday afternoon.

According to reports from the Provincial National Disaster Office in Kokopo, the 10 people boarded a 23-foot banana boat powered by a 40-horse power engine at Kokopo beach to return to New Ireland when they ran into bad weather and rough seas within Pisin Island and Makada in the Duke of York Islands.

East New Britain provincial disaster coordinator Peter Luluai confirmed that the passengers included nine adults and a 5-year-old child.

Luluai said the boat capsized and was carried away by the fast current and strong winds.

He said five adults including the child swam to the shore to get help. However three of the adults didn’t make it.

Luluai confirmed that the boat’s crew, an adult and the child managed to reach the shore of Duke of York Island the next day and alerted government officers of the incident who in turn organized a search party.

However Luluai said the search party has been searching in vain for the missing people for nearly a week now.

The search has been called off but New Ireland government officers have been instructed to continue searching.

An appeal has also been issued to people living along the coast to look out for any signs of the missing people and to report them to the nearest government stations.

He urged people traveling by sea to consider the warnings seriously and not to take risks by traveling far out.

August 11, 2004

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