Am. Samoa Flag Day Canoes Swamped, Races Cancelled

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Big waves flood two fautasi dumping crews into ocean

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, April 16, 2015) – The Matasaua of Manu’a and Fealofani Samoa III of Fagasa are swamped with water and the crews are clinging to the hulls while the chase boats work to secure the oars and rescue the rowers.

KVZK-TV reports no one is injured and they are covering the rescue live.

Weather today is 10-15 MPH tradewinds with moderate seas. It appears that the low gunnels (sides of the boat) on the two swamped fautasi allowed the waves to fill the hulls with water.

The other seven boats have headed back to the harbor. No word yet on when or if the race will be rescheduled.

The National Weather Service Office in Tafuna issued around 6:34a.m. today a small craft advisory due to winds of 10-15mph and seas 6-8 feet. It’s currently high ride.

An hour before the starting time, there were reports of fautasi in trouble, due to high seas, with water inside some fautasi. KVZK-TV reports that Aeto fautasi was the first to be affected by high waves, but they were able to made it back to the harbor.

A privately owned boat, which carried the TV crew and a Samoa News reporter, could be seen on video bouncing up and down due to rough seas. Owners of the boat also stayed on the sea to lend a helping hand to Fealofani Samoa.

KVZK-TV live broadcast footage shows the Fealofani Samoa fautasi underwater, as crew members remains on the boat, with nearby fautasi trying to help. Footage shows at least four fautasi crew members in the ocean as help arrives on the scene. ASG tugboats, at least two alia boats, Marine Patrol boat, Marine and Wildlife boat all rushed to the scene.

Other KVZK footage shows Matasaua fautasi also in trouble as help arrived at their location, and a fautasi nearby stopped to help.

Around 9:12a.m an announcement was made on the PA system at the Port Administration building that the race was not going to happen and fautasi fans headed away from the main dock.

From the Samoa News building - located across the street from main dock - at least two fautasi was seen heading back into the main harbor, towards the finish line.

Long before the race started, supporters of each fautasi team have already made their way into the downtown area, to get a good spot along the shoreline, especially between Utulei and Pago Pago in front of ASCO Motors the finish line.

With the race as well as the 2 Samoa Trade Fair at Utulei, traffic was almost at a standstill.

As of 9:40am. there was still no official announcement about the race. Samoa News will provide update as soon as information becomes available.

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