17 May 2004

Calls for better search and rescue training in American Samoa

7:14 am on 17 May 2004

The mother of a 5 year old boy who is thought to have drowned is urging the American Samoa government to properly train and equip search and rescue operations personnel.

The search for Tomasi Ah Far and a 13 year old friend were looking for small crabs on the rocks on the beach when a huge wave pulled them into the sea.

The friend and three other boys involved in rescuing them were saved but Tomasi disappeared.

Tomasi's mother said the marine patrol boat did not have proper lighting and the search crew was illprepared.

She said that the patrol boat did not cover much ground that first night before they called off the search.

She said she will accept the loss of her son but does not want his death to be in vain.

She said too many lives have been lost at sea because rescue crews are not trained and do not have the right equipment to do the job.