Trio missing off PNG coast after boat capsizes

Sydney: Three men from Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea are missing after their boat capsized off PNG, officials said Monday, as a fourth man was reportedly rescued on a isolated beach after scrawling “help” in the sand.

The group left Port Moresby on Saturday before their boat sank in rough seas, Australian authorities said.

PNG authorities launched a search for the missing men some 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of the capital Port Moresby, and are being assisted by Australia, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority told AFP.

The fourth man, from PNG, swam to shore and was able to alert a helicopter passing overhead by writing “help” on sand and waving his shirt in the air, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported.

The men are staff of KPMG in Port Moresby and a spokeswoman for the accountancy giant said the company was hopeful they would be found.

“We are in close contact with the families and our hopes and prayers are for successful rescue. We are in close contact with (Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs) and local authorities,” she said.

Australia’s foreign affairs department told AFP they were providing the missing man’s family with consular support, but did not provide further details.

-Agence France-Presse