Authorities warned yesterdya that chances of finding more survivors from the sunken mv Rabaul Queen are slim, The National reports.
As they scaled back the search and switched to recovery mode, four more bodies were plucked from Milne Bay and Northern waters.
It is now feared that most of the 100-plus passengers still missing were trapped inside the coastal ferry which sank last Thursday in 1,500m of water off Finschhafen as it was heading to Lae from Kimbe.
So far 246 people of the estimated 351 passengers and 12 crew on board had been rescued and were housed at care centres in Lae. The bodies found in the water at the weekend and yesterday had also been brought to Lae.
The exact number who boarded the Rabaul Queen during its ill-fated journey from Buka had not been ascertained because of conflicting figures provided by all ports where it took on passengers.
As family members faced the harsh reality of starting to receive bodies of their loved ones:
- Survivors and relatives of the missing petition the ship owner, Peter Sharp, to take full responsibility for the tragedy;
- Condolences poured in from Buckingham Palace, the United Nations and Australia among others;
- East New Britain committed K1 million to relief efforts;
- West New Britain sets up a crisis centre in Lae; and
- Bougainville President John Momis visits his people at the care centre