Two men rescued from sea after 29 days call it ‘a nice break from everything’

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After spending 29 days swimming in the open sea and 400 kilometers from where they started their journey, two people from the Solomon Islands were rescued by fishermen in Papua New Guinea in an epic tale of survival and resilience.

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Liwe Nanjikana and Junior Coloni, who are currently safe in the Pomio district of Papua New Guinea’s West New Britain province, called the adventure a “nice break from everything”.

The GPS tracking device on her small, single 60 horsepower motorboat stopped working after she left for her voyage from Mono Island in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands on September 3.


The trip was to end in Noro in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands, about 200 kilometers from the city of Noro on New Georgia Island.

Mr Nanjikana told the local Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) that “we have traveled before and it should have been fine.”

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However, “we had to face bad weather which came with heavy rain, thick dark clouds and strong winds on our way for almost an hour,” he said.

Soon, their GPS tracker’s battery died and due to bad weather, it was difficult to see the beach they were about to follow during this trip, making navigation difficult.

SIBC reported that the two adventurers decided to stay as night drew to a close.

“When the bad weather came, it was bad, but it was worse and it got scary when the GPS died,” Mr Nanjikana said. “We couldn’t see where we were going and so we decided to stop the engine and wait to save fuel.”

For the next nine days, both survived on oranges from Mono.

When they ran out of oranges, they “managed to survive only on rainwater and coconuts and our faith in God as we prayed day and night,” Mr Nanjikana told the local SIBC.

The two trapped rainwater using a canvas and when they found coconuts floating in the sea, they started the engine and started driving towards it.

On the 27th day as he set out on his journey, he saw an island in the distance. They were in the Papua New Guinea region.

Mr Nanjikana said: “We didn’t know where we were, but didn’t expect to be in another country.”

On the evening of the 29th day, they made it close to the island. By then there was little fuel left in the fuel tank of his boat.

Mr. Nanjikana saw a fisherman in his wooden canoe some distance away. “It was when we shouted and constantly waved our hands to the fisherman that he saw us and paddled towards us.” He continued: “When he reached out to us, we asked, Where are we now? And he replied, PNG, oh we are safe now.”

The fisherman took both the men to a health center in Pomio for treatment.

“The fisherman was a good man. When we reached the land, our bodies felt weak, so the men took us home. Later we were fed good foods like taro, pawpaw and other vegetables which helped us regain our strength .

Recalling the experience, Mr. Nanjikana said: “I didn’t know what was happening when I was there. I didn’t hear about covid or anything. I look forward to going back home but I think it was a nice break from everything.”

Mary Vallenia, Chief Desk Officer of the Solomon Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Papua New Guinea, said. Guardian That they are in touch with Sri Nanjikana. He ensured that all necessary arrangements were made so that the men could go home safely.


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