Banaban Voice

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Terror in the deep

Theresa Ralogaivau
Wednesday, February 17, 2010

DIVERS are combing Yadua waters in Bua for a comrade believed to be the victim of a shark attack.

Captain Kaukau Corrie said they watched helplessly as fellow diver, Henry Usimewa, 19, struggled and fought off an unseen creature before he was dragged beneath the waves.

Mr Corrie said when they rushed to his aid less than half a minute later, Mr Usimewa was nowhere to be seen.

"He was gone and all that was left behind was his diving gear," he said.

"The boys dived in to look for him ... we are still looking."

Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri confirmed that a report was lodged at the Nabouwalu Police Station on Monday afternoon.

Mr Usimewa, of Tabwewa Village in Rabi, was part of a group of seven divers working for High San Trading aboard the Grace Three. They dove for sucuwalu or beach-de-mer near Nara Reef, which is an hour's boat ride from Yadua Island.

Four divers including the deceased were in the sea at the time of the attack.

"Around 9.30am we spotted him surface about 15 metres from the boat," said Capt Corrie. "I can still hear his screams as he fought off something that pulled him under. It was terrifying.

"He was wearing his diving jacket but was pulled clean from it.

"We looked whole day and whole of Tuesday but we couldn't find him except for his diving gear and sack of sucuwalu.

"We saw that his regulator hose had been bitten off. We are horrified and scared to dive in this area."

The company's Yadua camp manager, Josevata Buliyama, said that another beche-de-mer diver from Raviravi Village in Macuata disappeared in the same area two years ago, and only his diving gear was recovered.

The search for Mr Usimewa is expected to be called off today.

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