A mother and her sons are stranded after a boat goes missing
A mother and her sons are stranded after a boat goes missing

A mother and her sons are stranded after a boat goes missing

A Newcastle woman says an Australian tour company should have been better prepared for bad weather after a diving holiday in Fiji almost ended in disaster when a dinghy went missing.

When Justine Clark and her sons Felix, 18, and Max, 20, came off the coast of Fiji for diving on August 14, the sunken boat was nowhere to be seen.

A diver with more than 30 years of experience, Clark booked an afternoon dive at an offshore spot called The Supermarket.

The diving party included a British tourist and divemaster, who worked for Viti Water Sports, a company subcontracted to Captain Cook Cruises.

On the way to the dive site the weather worsened, but the party continued.

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“We sailed into a storm that was headed our way and out into open water that looked like a big channel about 20 kilometers from each island,” Clark said.

After a legal dive of about 40 minutes, she emerged with her oldest son.

“There was no tender boat visible on the surface, the swell was two meters, it was dark with gray clouds and high winds,” Clark said.

She said that their management was on top of it.

“He was shocked by the events and said this had never happened in his 27 years diving,” Clark said.

Garbage collector to the rescue

The divemaster advised the group to swim to an island they could see in the distance.

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“I can’t express how concerned I am for everyone’s health, the sharks and the decision to make it to the island safely,” Clark said.

Justine Clark and her sons, Felix and Max, were left by the divemaster after their Fiji.
Justine Clark and her sons, Felix and Max, were left by the divemaster after their Fiji.
Originally called Justine Clark

After about 50 minutes, the divemaster yelled that a small boat was on its way to the group.

He advised divers to inflate the surface markers to see them.

The group’s savior was a garbage collector who collected garbage from the ocean.

He felt the tip of one of the divers.

Justine and her sons resort to swimming for a garbage collector after their manager urges them to swim to a nearby island.
Justine and her sons resort to swimming for a garbage collector after their manager urges them to swim to a nearby island.
Originally called Justine Clark

After a while, the driver of the contract boat moved towards the group.

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“He apologized to me and told me that he was very scared and looked for the captain because he was lost,” Clark said.

In a written response to the ABC, Captain Cook Cruises explained that the tender boat had drifted away from the dive site and that conditions on the surface made it difficult for the operator to follow the bubble divers.

Justine and her sons were returned safely on a Captain Cook Cruises ship.
Justine and her sons were returned safely on a Captain Cook Cruises ship.
Originally called Justine Clark

The company said the situation was unprecedented and a full internal review had been carried out, resulting in “already tightening” of safety procedures.

“I think it’s really important for operators to be prepared for these situations that may be rare but can still happen,” Clark said.

Source : nypost.com