A ferry transporting no less than 22 school children has reportedly sunk into the Pacific ocean.
According to New Zealand officials, the Kiribati ferry believed to be transporting no less than 22 school children.
The ferry, a 17-metre-catamaran, MV Butiraoi, was reported to have been declared missing since January 18 after it departed from the remote Nonouti Island headed for the capital city, Tarawa.
The President, Taneti Maamau, had earlier said on Monday that the ferry had no less than a hundred passengers on board but later stated that the number of passengers was reviewed and revised after Nonouti officials sought details from those with family on the ferry.
It was confirmed that 88 people comprising 45 male and 43 female had boarded, however, Maritime New Zealand said the 22 children who were victims of the ferry accident are from an island of 2,000 people.
The students include 10 primary school students and 12 high school students.
Maamu said: “The government is with you, the people of Nonouti, including those who have been greatly affected by this incomparable incident.
“It will not run away from [responsibility] but to humbly accept and will try [its] very best to search for the remaining passengers.”
He added: “There are objects that have been spotted like wooden pieces and a gas cylinder and a few other things but sadly, there are still no signs of people spotted yet.”