21 Jun 2002

Search called off in Fiji for 11 people missing at sea

4:09 pm on 21 June 2002

Authorities in Fiji have called off an extensive air and sea search for 11 people missing at sea since Monday morning.

Navy Commander Viliame Naupoto says two planes, a helicopter and a naval patrol boat as well as private vessels have covered the entire search area without finding any trace of the seven men and four women or their boat.

Only some personal belongings of the passengers were found washed ashore on Taveuni island.

The missing eleven, and another two who survived, were in an open punt travelling from Taveuni to Koro islands when it capsized in rough seas and high winds.

Traditional elders of Vuna village on Taveuni will meet today to plan funeral rites and a memorial service for their missing kinsmen, who are believed to be dead.