A mormon missionary couple who were missing for over 48 hours at sea have been found alive and well. Elder and Sister Mariteragi, serving in the Tahiti, Papeete Mission were returning home by boat from a baptism on the island of Makemo, French Polynesia. (see maps) where almost half of the local 80 residents are Latter-day saints. 
   maritarangi story couple missing boat graphics.001

Full Rundown of Events
Saturday 17th JAN

They left the Island at 11:30 just after the boat motor had been repaired. Some local people have since expressed concern that the boat had no communication devices. They were returning with Brother Burns, a local member.
Sister Mariterangi said “The compass in the boat was not working well because of the bad weather, so it was turning in all directions. There were no islands in sight we cut the engine which allowed us to drift”The boat finally drifted more than 45 nautical miles (50miles-83kms) from their intended route. It took only few hours of not arriving at their destination before the search had begun.Sunday 18th JAN

By Sunday morning there were five official boats participating in the search, in coordination with the ‘Operations Centre Monitoring, Research and Polynesia Rescue’ (MRCC) Papeete as well as the Rescue Helicopter ‘The Dauphin’, which made eleven, separate ariel rotations of the area. More people and boats from Makemo had also started assisting in the search, news spread quickly and many people were praying and fasting for the couples safety from all over French Polynesia.

Monday 19th JAN

At around midday Monday, more than 48 hours at sea, The Guardian of the National Navy found the drifted boat and the three shipwrecked survivors. (photo below) The Dauphin rescue helicopter then airlifted them to the nearby island of Makemo. They have now received medical examinations. According to the (MRCC), the survivors’ health is of no immediate concern’.
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Photo of their boat taken from the The Guardian of the National Navy. 

Many family members are now with the couple after what must have been a long and intense weekend. Their daughter Tuhiata in Tahiti said “Before I found out I felt that something was wrong, but I was calm because I know God’s plan, Mum told me that they were calm in that little boat, they have done nothing but sing and pray since, they are very grateful and doing fine “.
7370751-11348612The missionary couple will continue their voluntary service in the Tahiti Papeete Mission.Whilst church authorities are openly praising the efforts of the rescue teams and publicly thanking all who prayed and fasted for the couples safe return, it is reported that guidelines are being reviewed for continued missionary safely in the area.
Mormon Missionaries lost at sea are found.

Basic info taken from and translated from articles by http://www.ladepeche.pf/and http://www.tahiti-infos.com/
Quotes from Family members
(Photo of helicopter: Marie-Hélène Courbon)  (Photo of the speed boat courtesy of the The Guardian of the National Navy)


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