A Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) search team yesterday returned to the Maldives with the eight survivors found aboard the boat ‘Hihvaru’, which was lost and later capsized while travelling to Huvadhu Atoll from Male’. The vessel originally departed with nine men and a child aboard.
However, authorities confirmed Tuesday (December 10) that a foreign national and a 76 year-old male from Rathafandhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll had died before they could be located by the rescue team.
According to the MNDF, the eight survivors were brought to Addu City and immediately admitted to Hithadhoo Regional Hospital for treatment after arriving yesterday (December 11) at 8:00pm.
The right survivors were said by the MNDF to be in good health upon their arrival in Addu City, with no one critically injured.
Local newspaper Sun Online today reported allegations made by the captain of the ‘Hihvaru’ boat that he and his passengers had been robbed of money by the crew of the Sri lankan vessel who first discovered them.
The crew of the Sri Lankan fishing boat were accused of robbing US$120 from the passengers on ‘Hihvaru’, according to ‘Sun’.
According to the MNDF website, the ‘Hihvaru’ set sail from Male’ on November 28 at 7:00pm, heading towards Huvadhu Atoll with 10 passengers aboard, including an 11 year-old boy. The boat was also loaded with goods to be taken to Huvadhu Atoll. The defence force has confirmed that two of the 10 passengers were Bangladeshi nationals.
The coastguard had begun searching for the vessel with assistance from the Indian government on November 29 after the boat was first declared missing.
The MNDF has said in a statement that a Sri Lankan boat had discovered the eight men hanging from the capsized vessel 290 miles off the island of Dhaandhoo in Gaa Alifu Atoll.