IN what could only be described as scenes from a movie drama, four people were rescued off the Natadola coast yesterday after being alerted by a search and rescue aircraft.
According to witnesses at the scene and rescue personnel, a New Zealand rescue aircraft was involved in the search and alerted a nearby resort's game fishing boat.
"I can confirm that four out of the five passengers have been found while the fifth is still missing," said West police spokeswoman Naina Ragigia.
"The search which began on Friday was called off due to very rough seas and resumed early this (yesterday) morning, resulting in the rescue. We are still continuing efforts to locate the fifth passenger from that boat," she said.
Robinson Crusoe Island resort owner Wayne Latter, who co-ordinated the search and rescue efforts by liaising with the aircraft and his game fishing boat, said the men were lucky to be found alive.
"I was communicating with the pilot who identified himself as Kiwi Rescue and our boat captain during the rescue effort. The aircraft fired flares to attract our boat captain to the area where the missing men were found trying to stay afloat and fighting strong current. The four were severely dehydrated and were immediately rushed to the Sigatoka Hospital," he said.
Mr Latter explained that the four passengers were travelling from Korolevu to Vatulele with a boat load of groceries when the boat they were travelling in capsized in rough waters.