Police call for water safety after missing man’s body recovered

Tongan Police have urged the public to be careful in the water after they recovered the body of a missing man yesterday.

Fisiatina Puafisi, 45, of Tofoa was last seen walking towards the waterfront opposite Little Italy in Nuku’alofa  with a kayak on Friday 23 December.

His body was recovered from the water along the Sopu Coastline about 1.3km north of the Hifofua wreck by a Police Search and Rescue team yesterday at at 3:45pm.

A search was launched after Police received a missing at sea report.

The Police Search and Rescue boat, the ‘Alotolu, was commanded by Acting Deputy Commissioner ‘Atunaisa Taumoepeau.

Tongan Police launched three new police SAR boats in December 2015.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Taumoepeau said since then police had saved 65 lives in 19 Police SAR operations.

“Our message to all this summer is to think safety before you put your boat or yourself in the water,” he said.

“Be prepared and keep an eye on the weather and water conditions.

He said anybody putting out to sea should make sure they had a means of  communication , life jackets, emergency flares and a beacon.


He said people using the beaches over the Christmas-New Year break should make sure they were familiar with the area they were using.

They should be sure of their swimming ability so they could get themselves out of trouble or wear a life jacket.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Taumoepeau said people should always

  • Look at the tides and currents
  • Supervise children whenever they are near water
  • Check for hidden objects before jumping or diving in
  • Get in the water with children
  • Monitor the weather and water
  • Call for help at the first sign of trouble
  • Remember that alcohol and water activities did not safe mix
  • Check the sea worthiness of their boat and safety equipment before going out
  • Have fun

The main points

  • Tongan Police have urged the public to be careful in the water after they recovered the body of a missing man yesterday.
  • Their warning came after Search and Rescue team recovered the body of missing canoeist Fisiatina Puafisi late yesterday afternoon.
  • Police also warned people to be careful when swimming this season and to make sure their boat and safety equipment were in good condition.

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