Two people are dead with 15 others burnt by fuel after a dinghy mishap along the coast of Sori and Ndehet villages in Manus on Sunday.
Manus Provincial Police Commander Chief Inspector David Yapu said the dinghy carrying 17 passengers on board, a 44 gallon fuel drum, a 40 Hose power motor and personal properties was returning from Kali Island from a burial and was heading back to Lorengau town when the incident happened.
PPC Yapu said they encountered strong winds and rough sea resulting in the boat capsizing. Chief Inspector Yapu said the 15 passengers were burnt after the 44 gallon fuel drum spilled.
“The passengers on board started to swim ashore and were burnt by the spill of the fuel drum. A young boy managed to swim ashore and seeked assistance from Lohang Logging Camp and came to rescue the passengers including pregnant women.”
“Unfortunately the Operator of the boat lost his life including a 3 year old boy died in the hands of his mother whilst drifting out at sea waiting to be rescued,” said PPC Yapu.
PPC Yapu said those rescued passengers with burns on their bodies from the fuel were taken to Lorengau General Hospital for treatment.
He said the bodies of the deceased were escorted by boat to Lorengau town on Monday morning and conveyed to the morgue at Lorengau General Hospital.
Meanwhile,People in Manus have been warned to take extra precautions when travelling out at sea.
PPC added that people should take the warning seriously and not to travel out at sea during this bad weather.