A search and rescue operation continues this afternoon for 62-year-old Amanaki (Naki) Ikitomaka who has been missing from his residence at Paliati at Alofi since 3 pm yesterday afternoon. The National Disaster Management Office is organising the search and has set up a focal point at Palitati.
It’s understood Amanaki was in the forest bush area behind the house where his bush knife was found. A basket with kaluku (ferntips) was also found in what has been described by volunteers as very rough and rugged terrain.
This morning Manager of the NDMO Robin Hekau asked for volunteers from the community to help in the search for the man.
“Missing since 3 pm yesterday afternoon, so we have had a search party since last night,’ said Hekau.
The search has been focused behind and around the residence at Paliati, Tusekolo, and the areas between Alofi and Lakepa.
The search party took a break for an hour and resumed the search at 1pm. Members of the public who are familiar with the bush areas around Paliati, Tusekolo, Alofi to Lakepa, Alofi North to Makefu going north are asked to please help in the search.
People with bush gardens in these areas are also asked to check around their bush gardens and the areas that you are familiar with.
Mr. Ikitomaka has been missing for nearly 24 hours and concerns for his wellbeing is growing the longer he is out there in the bush.
Concerns also because of the earthquake felt on the island just before midnight last night.
The search has now resumed minus several police officers as they have to work at the airport, they will return to the search after the plane’s departure.
If you know anything or have noticed something in the bush around the areas of Paliati, Tusekolo, Alofi North to Makefu, Alofi to Lakepa, please comment on this story or contact Robin Hekau at Paliati.