Tongan seasonal worker survives 30 hours lost at seas in Queensland

A Tongan man who works in Australia under the Seasonal Worker Programme clung on for 30 hours before finally being rescued.

The 36-year-old worker at a banana farm was one of four men from the farm who went off the coast of Far North Queensland after their boat sank on the way back from a fishing trip to the Great Barrier Reef on Sunday.

The Tongan national was identified by various Tongan sources as Manatu-He-Lotu ‘Asi.

Reports by Australian media said a group of four men set off from Clump Point near Mission Beach on Friday night in a 5.2-metre fibreglass fishing boat.

“Acting Inspector Brett Jenkins said the group consisted of a 24-year-old Mission Beach man who owned the boat, two Vanuatu nationals aged 26 and 31, and a 36-year-old Tongan national”, reported ABC radio.

“About 11:00am on Saturday we believe that the vessel started to take on water and quickly sank somewhere in the vicinity of the Bernard Islands,” Jenkins was reported by the radio as saying.

“Unfortunately they weren’t able to activate the EPIRB on the vessel or don any of the life jackets.”

‘Asi reportedly spent 30 hours in the ocean before he was rescued, reported the Australian 9News Channel.   

Authorities described ‘Asi’s finding as ‘finding a needle in a haystack’.

He was taken to a hospital and treated for hyperthermia and exposure.

“He was okay he was very lucky”, a member of the rescue team told the Channel.

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