Rescue operations underway

Passengers on the "Spirit of Altruism" helped onto fiber glass open boats to be ferried across to the waiting Spirit of Harmony. Picture: SUPPLIED/LEPANI BATABA

Passengers on the "Spirit of Altruism" helped onto fiber glass open boats to be ferried across to the waiting Spirit of Harmony. Picture: SUPPLIED/LEPANI BATABA

Update: 5:08PM NEARBY resort owners have come to the rescue of passengers on board the stranded passenger ferry, the Spirit of Altruism stuck on a reef near Naigani.

Lepani Bataba, a passenger on the ferry said several fiber glass open boats from Natale-ira and Takalana Bay Resorts are currently taking passengers across from the stranded ferry to the Spirit of Harmony.

“They have not told us much else about whether they are taking us to Vanua Levu or Viti Levu. We are just happy to be finally moving,” Mr Bataba said.

Another passenger Hasina, who has safely got on board the Spirit of Harmony said the rough seas and strong winds were made the rescue operation difficult.

“All the passengers who were taken across to the rescue vessel are wet from the high and rough seas,” she said.

“It’s a frightening experience for us and we are waiting for the other passengers to come across from the stranded vessel.”

Approximately 200 passengers were on board the Spirit of Altruism when it ran aground on a reef in Lomaiviti about an hour after it left Natovi in Tailevu.