THREE foreigners were rescued by resort divers after their yacht was swept onto a reef near Nananu-i-Ra Island, located about one and a half kilometres off the coast of Rakiraki over the weekend.
Safari Lodge of Nananu-i-Ra Island director Warren Francis said the foreigners were sailing near the Vatu-i-Ra passage when a "rogue wave" swept their yacht onto the reef.
"Our divers intercepted a mayday distress call around 7am on Saturday. They then contacted MSAF (Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji) Lautoka office requesting for assistance.
"They referred us to MSAF, Suva office who failed to return our calls," Mr Francis said.
He said the three men — an Australian and two Spaniards — were also calling for help on the yacht's satellite phone and radio.
"They radioed the Navy in Suva who told them that the Navy does not work on weekends and could not provide assistance for them," Mr Francis said.
He said by this time, the lodge had also contacted neighbouring resorts for their help to rescue the men who were more than five kilometres away from the island.
"We kept in contact with the three yachtsmen from the time we heard their distress call right until the afternoon.
"After all of our efforts to get help failed, we left the lodge around 3.15pm with a doctor, a diver and two crew men.
"Our workers travelled for two and half hours to reach the men. They found them exhausted and tired but no medical assistance was required.
"They are now recovering and have sailed back to Nananu-i-Ra. Their yacht suffered some damage and will require maintenance at Vuda Marina."
Meanwhile, the Fiji Navy's operations office refuted Mr Francis' claims that it did not act on the distress call from the foreigners.
The Navy confirmed receiving the distress call at its Radio 3DP in Suva and then broadcasting the call and the position of the yacht to all nearby vessels.