Two men who had been lost at sea for 29 days have been rescued. The men, from the Solomon Islands, could not get their GPS tracker to work in the midst of heavy winds and rains that obscured the coastline.
They were rescued some 400 kilometres away from where they started their journey.
Broken GPS & Bad Weather
Livae Nanjikana and Junior Qoloni set off from Mono Island on Sept. 3 in a motorboat. They had planned travelling some 200 km to the town of Noro on New Georgia Island.
But luck was not on their side as they were hit by strong winds and heavy rains that made it difficult for them to navigate. To make matters worse, their GPS tracker chose that time to stop working.
Nanjikana told the Guardian:
When the bad weather came, it was bad, but it was worse and became scary when the GPS died. We have done the trip before, and it should have been OK. We couldn’t see where we were going, and so we just decided to stop the engine and wait, to save fuel.
The duo survived on oranges they had packed for the trip, coconuts and rainwater while floating about 400 km northwest for 29 days. They were eventually spotting by a fisher off the coast of New Britain, Papua New Guinea.
When they were rescued in the town of Pomio on October 02, they were so weak they could not walk. They had to be carried off the boat and to a nearby house.
They have since been assessed at a local health clinic and are now staying with a local family.
Nanjikana said, although they were terrified, they can now look back on the experience as a necessary and ‘nice’ break from a COVID-infested reality.
I had no idea what was going on while I was out there. I didn’t hear about Covid or anything else. I look forward to going back home, but I guess it was a nice break from everything.