Main Menu

Search and rescue unit lacks standalone resources

THE Solomon Islands Search and Rescue Unit says it lacks standalone resources when it comes to conducting search and rescue efforts.

In an interview yesterday, Principal Search and Rescue Officer, Peter Young said the unit coordinates search and rescue operations with authorities, in this case the police for patrol boats and fast crafts, RAMSI for the use of Toll helicopters and first responders, which is the people on the ground.

Malaita Premier Peter Ramohia yesterday raised in this paper that no action was taken quickly and lives have been lost due to no rescue attempt being made at the first instance.

He was referring to the latest boat tragedy which has officially claimed five lives with 15 still missing, off the coast of Marau, east Guadalcanal.

However, Mr Young said Search and Rescue was informed of the incident 2.30pm Thursday last week, a day after the boat was said to have capsized, and they had to coordinate with the police and people on the ground.

“Search and Rescue sought support from Police and RAMSI for the use of their resources but it was a bit late at that time,” he said.

He said when they receive the report, people on the ground, the police in Marau and boat owners have already mobilised.

“Also, you don’t rush into search and rescue operation when you receive information; you have to develop a search plan first.

“We have to analyse reports and investigate, we have to make sure wise and precise decisions are made, many things come into play.

“What is on the ground is different, there are circumstances we need to overcome and the red tapes on the way,” Mr Young explained.

Furthermore, Mr Young said weather is also a contributing factor to search operations and this must be properly considered before conducting a search operation.

Meanwhile, Mr Young said continued search for the missing people is expected to scale down as of yesterday.

He has also thanked the police in Marau and boat owners for assisting in the search efforts.