Solomons police officers rescued after three days lost at sea

Royal Australian Navy personnel transfer passengers from a stricken Royal Solomon Islands Police Force vessel to HMAS Ararat Photo: Australian Government - Defence

Seventeen people, who had been missing at sea in Solomon Islands for three days, were rescued by an Australian navy ship.

The missing, who included a number officers from the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, had been travelling on a police vessel, which broke down while travelling to Gizo.

They were rescued by HMAS Ararat.

The Solomon Islands police is still trying to discover what happened to their craft.

The rescue occurred in the Shortland Islands between Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

“The stabbi left Gizo and did not arrive at Kulitanae Police Station as expected. Police Response Team stationed at Taro, Kariki and Harapa went out to do an initial search till late night but there was still no sighting of the missing stabbi craft,” said Assistant Commissioner National Operation Everlyn Thugea.

“In the morning of 21 May the search rescue continued until late in the afternoon when the missing stabbi craft was tracked and rescued by an Australian Navy vessel,” she said.

Commanding Officer of HMAS Ararat, Lieutenant Commander David Martinussen, said the rescue was a collective effort between partners.

“I am very proud of how professionally the team in HMAS Ararat responded to assist our friends in need. The rescue was the result of excellent teamwork and a collective effort with our partners in Solomon Islands.”

The rescued personnel and passengers were in good health when they were found.

They were transferred to Ararat where they were provided with food and water during the journey back to Korovou.

The police vessel was put under tow and offloaded on return to the island.

Source: RNZ