10 kids among passengers on sunken Kiribati ferry
Ten primary school children have been named among 88 passengers who boarded the ill-fated ferry MV Butiraoi which sank a fortnight ago in Kiribati.
Some of the seven survivors shortly after being rescued.
Radio Kiribati reports a full list of passengers compiled by the council on Nounouti island, the ferry’s last port of call, names 10 primary and 13 high school students and 65 adults. [restrict}
Of the 88 passengers 43 were female and 45 were males.
The list was compiled by council officials who went around the island checking with people whose family members had boarded the ferry.
Kiribati’s president Taneti Maamau confirmed receiving the list on public radio and extended his sympathies to the affected families.
“The government is with you the people of Nonouti including those who have been greatly affected by this incomparable incident and it will not run away from it but to humbly accept it and will try its very best to search for the remaining passengers,” said President Maamau
Mr Maamau said the tragedy had rocked the nation but he called for unity as the search for more survivors continued.
He said the seven survivors rescued by a fishing boat earlier this week have received medical treatment aboard the Kiribati patrol boat Te Anoai which is taking them back to the capital Tarawa before it rejoins five other vessels involved in the search effort.
“There are objects that have been spotted like wooden pieces and a gas cylinder and a few other things but sadly, there are still no signs of people spotted yet,” Taneti Maamau said.
“At this time, the search continues and once new reports emerge, the government will report back to you, our people”
Aerial support for the search effort is being provided by the United States, Australia and New Zealand to help cover an area of ocean larger than 300,000 square kilometres.
Maritime New Zealand tweeted the RNZAF P3 Orion and its crew, who did a four day marathon stint before taking a break yesterday, are rejoining the search effort today. [/restrict}