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Five dead in tragic accident at sea

Five people drowned after the speedboat capsized.



Five people died on Thursday after a speedboat capsized near the northern island of Hanimadhoo in Haa Dhaal atoll.

The small vessel was travelling with 10 people from the nearby Nolhivaranfaru island when it turned over on the southern reef of Hanimadhoo around noon, Colonel Mohamed Saleem, principal director of the coastguard, told the press.

One man, three women and a child drowned, he confirmed. The five survivors are being treated at the Hanimadhoo Hospital.

Local media identified the victims as Hussain Abdulla, a long-serving teacher at the Nolhivaranfaru School, his wife Mariyam Manike, his daughter Guraisha and granddaughter Eeraa. According to Avas, the fifth victim was a woman named Aishath Ali, the wife of another teacher at the Nolhivaranfaru School.

The journey from Nolhivaranfaru to Hanimadhoo takes about 10 minutes. A yellow alert advising seafarers in the northern atolls to exercise caution was in effect from 8am to 2:30pm on Thursday.

None of the passengers were wearing lifejackets, according to Colonel Saleem. The size of the speedboat was about 23 feet, he noted. Coastguard vessels were dispatched to find the missing passengers after the incident was reported around 12:25pm.

The national carrier Maldivian airlines has since cancelled all flights to Hanimaadhoo due to bad weather. The meteorology department has warned of heavy rain and thunderstorms across the country. 

Preparations were underway for the funerals at Hanimadhoo at the time of the publication.

As the nation mourned the tragedy, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, government officials and politicians offered condolences to the families of the deceased.

“It was with great sadness that I heard the news of five people being killed after a speedboat toppled over. I offer my sincere condolences to their families. May Allah grant paradise to the deceased and give courage to the families,” President Solih tweeted.