17 Jul 2009

Search in Kiribati for more than 20 missing at sea

3:23 pm on 17 July 2009

A search is underway in Kiribati for the more than 20 people missing at sea after their canoe capsized on Monday.

Four people are reported to have died and the authorities say they have so far found 12 survivors.

The double-hulled canoe was carrying about 40 passengers from the capital, Tarawa, to the outer island of Maiana.

A Radio Kiribati reporter Naare Rakamati says this is the worst boating accident in Kiribati.

He says the group were heading to Maiana to celebrate Independence Day.

"The canoe capsized when it was almost approaching the Maiana and they say that rough weather was one of the contributing factors to the incident, so one of the big waves just flipped over they out rigger of the canoe and that's when it capsized."

Naare Rakamati says this is the third boat accident at Maiana; the first one having left one person dead.