By MALUM NALU
No bodies have yet been recovered from the ill-fated mv Rabaul Queen as of today, a source in Lae told me today (Saturday).
He said 246 survivors were brought in to Lae yesterday (Friday), one, a woman, who died while the rest were being cared for at the provincial disaster centre or were undergoing treatment at Angau Memorial Hospital.
“They (authorities) are hoping for the weather to subside before they continue the search for survivors or dead bodies.”
The source said Rabaul Shipping owner Peter Sharpe said there had been 385 passengers on board mv Rabaul Queen when she sank in rough seas off Finschhafen, Morobe province, on Thursday morning while en route to Lae from Kimbe.
“Most of them were students from New Guinea Islands who were returning to school,” the source said.
“Others were passengers and students from Lae who visited their families in the New Guinea Islands over Christmas and were returning.
“Strong winds and rough seas were blamed for tilting the ship over.
“Two hundred and forty-six (246) were rescued and were brought to Angau hospital yesterday.
“One of the survivors died.
“They are gathered at the disaster centre in Lae.
“Some were brought to hospital for medical checkup.
“Relatives are crowded at the disaster centre waiting for news.
“It is estimated that more than 100 passengers are still missing.”
One of those grieving is district administrator for Mutzing, Markham Valley, John Orebut, whose two young sons were on the ill-fated vessel; however, only one had been rescued.