Pedro Melsul, a teacher of St. Henri Primary School in South East Pentecost died after a boat he was travelling on capsized at Bay Barrier on Wednesday this week.
A close relative of the deceased said the boat was heading to Pepari village from Saint Henri with four passengers on board when the incident occurred. Among the passengers were three adults and a child who is between 10 and 12 years old. According to the relative, the late Melsul wanted to go to the bank at Pangi in South West Pentecost, on that day.
The relative said it was strange as the weather was fine and the sea was calm.
“The first wave came from the front and lifted the boat,” the relative said.
“A second wave capsized it. When the boat overturned, the two adults and the child swam to the reef as the distance was not too far from where the boat capsized.
"But the late Melsul clung onto the overturned boat. One of the men swam back to the boat to assist him.”
But when they were swimming towards the reef, the man who was supporting the teacher felt that his hand was no longer around his shoulders.
The teacher drowned after he lost his grip on the rescuer's shoulder.
The man who went to rescue the teacher then called out to the other men to help him get the teacher to the reef. They had to dive to locate the teacher and swam with him back to the reef. Another boat passed by and took them all ashore.
The late Melsul is survived by his wife and four children.