The Police and the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (F.E.S.A.) are searching for a Chinese man in his 20s who went missing at the To Sua Ocean trench on Sunday.
The man has been identified by the Police as Feng Nen Ming. The search and rescue operation was launched on Sunday afternoon and continued yesterday.
At To Sua, the rescue team worked until late evening when they called off the search for the night.
F.E.S.A. Assistant Commissioner of Operation, Tanuvasa Petone Mauga, said they have been doing everything possible to find the Chinese man.
The Police and F.E.S.A. were called to To Sua on Sunday evening.
“We arrived around 3pm with six other F.E.S.A. officers and we contracted a diver at the same time. We searched until around 7pm on Sunday, we had to call off the search given it was already dark,” he said.
“Today (yesterday) we left the office around 6am and we had eight officers scattered around with our diver.
“However by 4pm, due to rough seas, we had to call off our divers, while the Police are still in the area.”
Asked if there is a time limit on the search, Tanuvasa said no.
“The search will continue throughout the whole week, until we have exhausted all the areas and we hope for the best.”
When the Samoa Observer arrived at To Sua yesterday, a woman at the reception area stopped us from entering the premises.
“You are not allowed on the premises and you will get everything from the Police who are in charge of everything,” she said.
“They had their photographer here and you can ask them for photos, but you are not allowed here.”
Lotofaga Village Mayor, Leuagamata Fa’amanu said they were unaware that someone was swept out in the ocean.
“See these things the village has to be informed so we can all assist in the search, but we have not been told about any searching going on in our village waters,” he said.
“If anything, the village council should be informed, we know our waters, but I’m puzzled as to why we were not informed, this is news to me.
“We can easily instruct our untitled men to gather and form a search party day and night, but when protocols are not being followed, we stay away unless we are asked to assist.”
“Police have recorded this as a second incident from the To Sua trenches. At the time of this release, police still have not locate this missing tourist,” a statement from the Police said.
“We advise members of the public and hotels to inform overseas guests in regards to the unpredictable conditions of surrounding ocean.”