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28 feared dead after Solomons ferry ignores storm warning

first_imgAt least 28 ferry passengers were swept overboard in a powerful storm off the Solomon Islands, reports said Saturday, with the captain unaware he had lost anyone until the boat docked.The passengers were heading from the capital Honiara to West Are’are, more than 120 kilometers away, under a government programme to evacuate people to their home villages during the global coronavirus epidemic.The MV Taimareho set sail on Thursday night as tropical cyclone Harold bore down on the Solomons, and with weather forecasters warning against any unnecessary voyages.But the captain ignored advice not to sail, the nation’s leader said, as survivors reported dozens of people were swept overboard by huge waves and strong winds. Local media put the death toll at 28.But police said it was impossible to verify the number.”Initial reports say the captain of the boat had no knowledge of the missing people until he was informed when the boat arrived at her destination at Are’are,” police marine department chief Charles Fox Sau said. “At this stage we cannot confirm how many people are missing as the investigation into this sad incident continues.” In an address to the nation, Prime Minister Manasseh Sovagare said a search and rescue operation was under way. “It is with deep regret to learn that a number of passengers are missing at sea after being washed overboard from a passenger vessel which departed … from Honiara, despite the several weather warnings issued,” he said. Disaster authorities in the Solomons, which has limited healthcare facilities, have been stretched as they prepared for the impact of coronavirus while the region was being battered by tropical cyclone Harold. The island nation, with a population of just over 600,000, is one of a dwindling number of countries where there have been no reported coronavirus cases so far.Harold, packing winds of up to 160 kilometers per hour, downed trees and damaged homes before heading away and was expected to intensify before reaching Vanuatu late Sunday.Although the government has not yet completed a damage assessment, Australia has donated Aus$100,000 (US$60,000) in immediate emergency funding.  Topics :last_img read more

Steve McClaren makes no excuses after Newcastle’s defeat to West Ham

first_img They even asked for the kick-off to be put back in order to give them time to warm up sufficiently, but to no avail. And they were caught cold at the start of each half as French star Payet fired West Ham to their first home win this season. “We can make excuses and say the preparation wasn’t ideal, but it’s no excuse,” said McClaren. “We felt the preparation wasn’t long enough and asked the referee to put it back. “But we didn’t do tonight what we have done for the previous four games in terms of organisation, discipline and being hard to beat, we lacked that. “We shot ourselves in the foot, especially for second goal. “It’s a learning process and we’ve learned a lot tonight. You don’t like going through nights like tonight, it’s painful, but sometimes you have to.” West Ham could sense Newcastle were there for the taking after just nine minutes when £10.5million summer signing Payet capped a sweeping move with a stunning opener. Mark Noble collected Diafra Sakho’s backheel in the penalty area and laid the ball back for the midfielder to coolly sidefoot a curling effort into the top corner. Three minutes into the second half West Ham doubled their lead when Victor Moses was desperately unlucky not to mark an impressive first appearance with a goal. The Chelsea loanee ran almost the length of the field following a Newcastle free-kick, only to crash his shot against the crossbar. The ball bounced down and out towards the lurking Payet, who thumped it into an empty net to take his tally for the season to three. “We fully deserved the three points, we were better from the start and we scored at the right time,” said Bilic. “It’s small proof that we really did well in the transfer window. Payet is a player I wanted from the start. “I’ve known him for a long time, he is one of those players who is not only a great player who scores goals and makes goals, but he also makes the players around him play better.” The Hammers are now up to fifth in the Barclays Premier League but Bilic added: ” I didn’t set targets in terms of finishing in the top 10. “Our target is that we want a good team that can defend with numbers and can attack with numbers, a team who can keep the ball. “If we succeed in that that should give us more points. But I don’t know if we will be fifth, or 15th.” Steve McClaren was forced to endure another miserable evening at the hands of Slaven Bilic as Newcastle slumped 2-0 at West Ham. McClaren, who lost his job as England boss eight years ago after a Wembley defeat to Bilic’s Croatia, saw his side shot down by two goals from Hammers new boy Dimitri Payet. The night did not start well for the Toon, either, after they arrived late at the stadium having had to walk the last mile of the journey due to the heavy traffic. Press Associationlast_img read more