Four men missing for weeks found in a village

Members of the PNG Water Police involved in the search for the missing fishermen. Photo: Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary

Four Papua New Guinea fishermen who went missing at sea three weeks ago have been found alive.

Family spokesperson Motu Lohia told RNZ Pacific the four were found drifting off Domara village, Abau, along the south-eastern coast of Central Province for about two weeks.

“They had no anchor but they managed to use the motor as the anchor when they drifted on the reef. That’s where they stayed for five days and [then were] found by the local fishermen.”

They survived off drifting coconuts and fish.

The men, aged from 18 to 35, went trawling at 10am on February 7 and had been missing ever since.

They returned to their home village early on Tuesday morning.

The wife of one, Kathleen Morea, confirmed with The National that she had spoken to him and the others on the phone.

“We saw a post on Facebook that the villagers of Domara had found them but were yet to receive proof,” she said.

“(Then) I received a please-call message from an unknown number. So when we called one of the fishermen answered and informed us that they were all well. But only the youngest, Lohia Michael, was weak and the villagers were treating him with hot water.

“The four of them went trawling (leaving behind) their phones. That was one reason we could not locate them.”

She said the immediate family members of the four travelled to Abau with the assistance of the PNG Defence Force.

Last week, the families of the four had to suspend their search because of a lack of resources.

Motu-Koita Assembly chairman Dadi Toka Jr yesterday posted on his Facebook page the joy and gratitude of the families and villagers to finally hear the good news.

“We thank the Lord God for his grace with their safe return after weeks at sea,” he stated.

Water Police officers in Port Moresby were also involved in the search.

Source: RNZ