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Nuku’alofa – April 28, 2021: 11am (Nuku’alofa Times): Five Navutoka fishermen are thanking their lucky stars after they were rescued out at sea on April 23 by a group who were out fishing that night.

Pilimisolo Tamo’ua of Nukunuku was one of those who came across the group and assisted them back to safety on Saturday morning.

“We went fishing last Friday evening and happened to be at the right place at the right time to tow back five fishermen off the reef known to fishers as Tito, some distance and out of sight off Nuku’alofa way down north of Malinoa,” Mr Tamo’ua told Nuku’alofa Times.

“The engine of their boat went loose and plunged into the water leaving them vulnerable to the mercy of wind and current.

“They were very glad that we were there! Very proud to have been there and able to help given the situation! Praise be to God in everything we go through.

“On the way back we chatted and laughed together with their boat tied side by side to ours, all the way to Navutoka … unforgettable, fakafiefia!”

The rescue operation as the drifting boat was tied up to the side of the rescuers’ boat.

Mr Tamo’ua, a former journalist with the Tonga Chronicle in the 90’s and now a senior staff at the Ombudsman’s Office,  said the group was from Navutoka and they had encountered the problem not long before “when we came up”.

“Ours was the only boat in the area, the reef was just in front of them, and given the current and their engine broken, anything could have happened,” he said.

“We decided to tow them out to about 30 metre depth for the night and then tow them back to safety in the morning, which we did!”

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