30 Dec 2015

Three missing at sea in Solomon Islands

1:18 pm on 30 December 2015

Maritime authorities in Solomon Islands are searching for three people missing at sea as bad weather in the country continues.

The director of Solomon Islands Maritime Safety says the trio failed to arrive in Honiara on Monday, having set out from Sepi in Isabel Province about 200 kilometres away.

Tim Harris says he knows they are in a banana boat powered by a 40 horsepower outboard motor and authorities are working on the scenario that they have encountered engine problems and are still onboard the boat adrift at sea.

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Photo: 123rf

Mr Harris says he remains optimistic about today's search efforts.

He says a helicopter dispatched this morning is searching the area and several rescue boats are enroute to join, all being guided by satellite mapping and ocean current prediction software.

"So we are fairly confident that we should be able to find these people it is just a question of the weather has been very rough. But the weather is better now than it was yesterday but we don't know how long this weather is going to last because there is some low pressure system that is threatening."

Tim Harris says a strong weather warning remains in place for much of the country and small watercraft are strongly advised not to attempt any inter-island travel.