Bad weather moving through Hakaufasi Reef in Vavaʻu affected search operation by police for three fishermen who have been missing since Wednesday, May 29.
Kaniva News was informed the fishermen were from the village of Otea and boats from nearby islands including the island of Matamaka have been sent to the area to see if they could find the men but were unsuccessful.
Speaking on Friday to Matangi Tonga online Kilisimasi Ma’ukoloa, one of the fishermen told the website “they started diving for fish and lobster around 7:00pm on Wednesday after arriving at the reef in their small boat earlier in the day.
“After hours of diving I decided with two others who were diving close to me to try and get back to the reef because we felt the swell was gettting stronger,” the website reports.
“We each had a torch which we left on to give light to the other men so they could find their way back to the reef but up to yesterday morning we saw no sign of them and the sea was getting rougher. We thought it was best to try and return to Neiafu since the weather was getting worse, and to report the matter to the police,” he told Matangi Tonga.
Hakaufasi Reef is located about 20 miles from Neiafu the capital of the main island Vava’u.