8 Mar 2011

48 people in PNG survive shark-infested waters after boat capsized

10:33 am on 8 March 2011

Forty-eight people, including eight children are reported to have survived a night in shark-infested waters in Papua New Guinea after their boat capsized in choppy seas.

The Post Courier reports the passengers of the MV Goodenough clung on to the hull of the boat after it overturned on Saturday afternoon off Kiriwina Island in Milne Bay.

The passengers were all rescued on Sunday morning, but the paper reports the

captain and crew had abandoned the passengers, dislodging the boat's only life boat to flee the scene.

It is understood the boat had departed despite strong wind warnings.

Provincial Disaster Coordinator Eric Balaria also confirmed the boat was overloaded as it only had the capacity for 30 passengers.

He says most of the passengers were sitting on the sundeck causing the boat to overturn because it had no cargo to weigh it down.