8 Jan 2015

Search for 11 people missing at sea in PNG

3:45 pm on 8 January 2015

Papua New Guinea authorities are searching for 11 people, including three children, missing at sea near Madang since Tuesday last week.

The newspaper, The National, reports the group left Baluan Island in a 23-foot dinghy and were expected to arrive on Pana Island outside Madang town on Wednesday.

The acting director for the Disaster and Emergency Office, Rudolf Mongalee, says relatives reported the matter after the group did not arrive.

Mr Mongalee says Madang police officers are being sent out to sea to search for the boat.

He says the latest phone call and signal zone made by those on the boat is being traced, and funds are being made availiable for an aerial search.

Mr Mongalee says the group may be drifting towards Wuvulu Island, but the flow of tides are being checked with assistance of the National Marine Safety Authority.

Coastline near the Papua New Guinea/Indonesia border.

Coastline near the Papua New Guinea/Indonesia border. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades