February 5th, 2012
03:29 AM ET

Papua New Guinea to shift to recovery mode in ferry sinking

Authorities in Papua New Guinea said Sunday it may be time to shift from rescue to recovery mode in their search for 98 people who remain unaccounted for in last week's ferry sinking.

"Whilst rescue operations are likely to continue, weather permitting, for some more time, basically we are looking for bodies from now onwards," said Capt. Nurur Rahman, rescue coordinator for the National Maritime Safety Authority.

"There is a high degree of confidence, that if there were any active survivors or persons inside life rafts or with lifejackets within the search area that they would have been sighted and recovered by now," Rahman added.

About 350 people were aboard the MV Rabaul Queen when it sank off the east coast of Papua New Guinea on Thursday - about 16 kilometers (10 miles) off Cape Fortification in the Vitiaz Strait.

The ferry was carrying passengers from the town of Kimbe on New Britain Island to Lae, the second-largest city in Papua New Guinea.

Some 246 survivors were rescued, and authorities found six bodies. Ninety-eight people are still missing, Rahman said Sunday.

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Filed under: Papua New Guinea • World
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. leeintulsa

    that's the problem with expressing 'condolenses' for people you don't (can't) know.

    sometimes you don't. are these people not worth an 'oh my' or 'god bless'.. nothin?

    February 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mary

    I just hafta say... I love that name! PAUA NEW GUINEAAAAA !!!

    And yes lee they are worth a "condolence" and maybe another line or two of their plight.

    February 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rooney©

    That's a lot of people still missing. My sympathy to everyone affected by this.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |