Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ferry goes down in Tonga

While we were checking Internet today in Brisbane we came across some very sad news back in Tonga, the Princess Ashika ferry sank late last night near Nomuka on it's way to Pangai and Vava'u. There were just over 80 passengers on board and right now the estimate is that half of those people drowned, mostly women and children who were sleeping in the middle compartment. There were lifeboats full of men only that made it to shore, they had been hanging out on deck and were able to jump off before the boat sank, we heard it went under water in only a couple minutes. We were able to get through to our Peace Corps friends Eric and Melanie today who live near where the ferry went down and got some updates from them on this. Some people from their island are among the missing, as well as a Japanese volunteer and a few tourists that were on board. It's so sad, it was a newer ferry and the main transportation for local Tongans going between island groups, and also the source of food/goods transportation. We were shocked and saddened to hear the news today, there will be lots of grieving and funerals in Tonga in the next week. Our thoughts and prayers are with those families.

Here is a link to the local news story on the ferry sinking:
And a New Zealand news story:

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