At least 28 passengers on a ferry were swept away by a cyclone while off the Solomon Islands during an evacuation operation to curb the coronavirus pandemic, local media reported Saturday.
“Several passengers disappeared into the sea after being washed away” by the waves and the winds, “said the prime minister of this Pacific archipelago, Manasseh Sovagare.
The ship sailed from the port “despite various meteorological warnings”, while Cyclone Harold was heading for the Solomon Islands, he said.
The “MV Taimareho” set sail Thursday night from the capital Honiara in the direction of West Are’are on the island of Malaita, more than 120 km away. The journey was part of a government program to evacuate people to their home villages, in order to fight the pandemic.
Survivors explained that several people were swept away by huge waves and strong winds, with a balance of 28 missing, according to local press.
The police, for their part, declared that at the moment it was impossible to verify this figure and that the search for missing persons was continuing.
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