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Fiji - Fishermen save cruising sailor from yacht fire

By Sue Richards last modified Oct 01, 2009 08:02 AM

Published: 2009-10-01 08:02:09
Countries: Fiji

By Fiji Times/Sail-World - 10:32 PM Sat 26 Sep 2009

Normally a fishing boat is one of those nuisances you see in the ocean who drag long fishing nets behind them, making it difficult to negotiate around them, or, after sitting quietly for some time, take off at speed in any direction. But the retired doctor sailing in Fijian waters last week may owe his life to four good-hearted Fijian fishermen.

The group of fishermen living Suva were fishing outside Suva Harbour last Wednesday when they noticed the yacht burning..

One of the fishermen, Alipate Molisadrau said, "We were fishing around those waters, off Naboro. We saw the yacht sailing not far away from us. When we finished with our fishing expedition to head back home around midday, we realised that big heavy smoke was coming from the yacht."

Mr Molisadrau said when they sailed near the yacht, they saw a foreigner who was suffering from burns. "He was trying to save as many items as he could from his yacht onto a small raft. We managed to get him quickly to Suva Yacht Club."

Police spokesman Sergeant Suliano Tevita confirmed that the yacht, Happy Dream, caught fire last week.

Staff at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital's Burns Unit confirmed that the sailor's condition has stabilised but he is yet to recover fully before being discharged. The sailor suffered about 10 to 12 per cent burns.

Sgt Tevita said the yacht belonged to a Colombian couple who were on a sailing trip around the world.

Police suspect the fire started from a gas tank on the yacht.