BOAT captain Simione Vitaukitoga says the sea ordeal of last Thursday would be hard to forget.
"It is especially emotional because one of the passengers is still missing," the 45-year-old said.
Originally from Bouwaqa, Vatulele, he was taking four of his fellow villagers to their home island when strong winds and rough seas struck.
The skipper, along with Orisi Ketenalagi, 24, Tevita Matai, 43, and 49-year-old Bulou Iva Venuki were rescued by a fishing vessel on Saturday. Father of two Levani Seru is yet to be found.
Mr Vitaukitoga said they were fortunate the boat had a floater, enabling them to stay alive for three days.
"There is a floater at the bottom of the boat which prevented the boat from sinking and this saved our lives," he said yesterday.
"The boat was overloaded with groceries so when we encountered rough seas, the boat quickly filled water.
"We then threw some of the groceries away and we tied two 25-litre empty containers on each end of the boat."
"We are happy we were saved unfortunately we are still heavy hearted as one of our relatives is still missing at sea," Mr Vitaukitoga said.