Solomons patrol boat withdraws from search for missing people

11:33 am on 9 April 2020

Solomon Islands police have withdrawn their patrol boat 'Gizo' from the search for 21 people still missing after being washed overboard in rough seas during Cyclone Harold on Friday.

Six bodies had been found but police say the search has now turned to coastal areas and beaches more suitable to smaller water-craft and shore parties.

An investigation is being conducted into the incident with questions raised about why the captain and owners of the MV Taimareho ignored maritime warnings telling ships not to attempt inter-island crossings because of the cyclone.

"The decision to withdraw the patrol boat was also necessary because it had just returned from a long surveillance operation when it was called to join the search and was low on fuel and provisions," Director of Police Maritime, Charles Fox Sau said.

Police in Malaita province are continuing to assist with the search effort.