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Stories From Kiribati


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Ocean Accident - Uean Te Raoi (3)

Posted by Amota Eromanga on October 12, 2012 at 1:50 AM


The Second Day

On the morning of our second day, we seemed to have been drifting back towards Maiana as the island appeared again after midday. Passengers (who were familiar with sea location) said that we were probably somewhere at the eastern side of Tematantongo village. We could see the island but it was in the distance. No help ever arrived yet so the captain decided to swim up to the island and if successful, he would inform people of our exact location. When he asked his crew if any could go, one of the crew agreed including three young men who were passengers. I knew those men very well for they were from my village. It was around 3 in the afternoon when they started leaving. We kept watching until we lost sight of them. We felt really sorry and sad seeing the four of them leaving for our sake.

ocean accidentAs night was approaching, the remaining men decided to right the ferry with the hope of providing better spaces for people - especially the children. Before the men could begin the work, a long rope was tied to the ferry for the women and children to hold onto while swimming. The body of the woman (who died yesterday) was untied from the ferry. We kept gripping onto the rope to avoid separation. One man was assigned to stay with our group of women and children otherwise anyone needed instant help.

Now the men began working. They pushed the outrigger downward in an attempt to swing it all the way below the hull and up to the other side. But it was very difficult work. Every time they pushed down, water resistance and upthrust pushed back the outrigger. In addition to that, the hull of the ferry was also very heavy. After a few attempts, the men gave up.

They then agreed to do it the other way round – to lift the outrigger with the help of the ropes. Three ropes were tied to different parts of the outrigger. Then they began pulling the ropes. The outrigger rose little by little until it finally rested on the other side. The ferry had been righted!

Not long, we were helped back to the ferry. I was one of the women who really struggled as I tried to swim back to the ferry. I was a poor swimmer and that why it was very hard for me to get back to the ferry. I doubted if I could ever reach the ferry. Thus, with the help of some men, I managed to get back to the ferry safely. I was so grateful for their help that had saved me.

As I looked around, I saw a man floating far from the ferry. Beside him was the body of his wife. I asked the men to go and help him swim back. Upon hearing me, one of the passengers went to help him. The passenger tried to persuade him but he did not listen. He just could not leave his wife out there therefore he refused to get back to the ferry. That was the last time we saw them.

Next part : Ocean Accident; Uean Te Raoi (4)

Categories: True Stories

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