Miracle as Australian girl, five, is found alive on a remote tropical island after going missing in a tiny banana boat packed with 11 people for 36 hours
- Lilycae Kilvert, 5, went on a boat ride with her grandmother and 11 others
- The group had left Buka, the capital of Papua New Guinea island Bougainville
- Lilycae’s father heard group were missing after leaving on Wednesday morning
- He received a call the group had been found alive and well on Friday morning
A five-year-old girl has been found alive 36 hours after she went missing while out on a banana boat ride with her grandmother, their dog and 11 others.
Australian child Lilycae Kilvert who lives in Bougainville, which is part of Papua New Guinea, left the island’s capital of Buka on the dinghy on Wednesday morning.
When their boat never arrived on the island of Nissan, it wasn’t until Thursday night when Lilycae’s father Andrew Kilvert received the terrifying news that his daughter was missing.
But just as the worried father was loading his boat ready to go out and search for his family, he received the call that the dinghy carrying Lilycae and the others had arrived on a remote island around 50km north of where they were supposed to land.
An Australian five-year-old girl has been found alive on a remote island after she and 12 others went missing while sailing from Buka to Nissan in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea (pictured are boats in Buka)
‘Normally, I absolutely forbid my children getting in these banana boats,’ Mr Kilvert told the ABC.
‘But she was just so excited to go with her Grandma back to the island, that I said, ”Well look, it’s really calm weather conditions … so I will make an exception this time”. And anyway, it was the wrong exception.’
Mr Kilvert has been living in Bougainville island for 30 years and runs a local boat service company.
He said the waters around the island can be very rough and dangerous, and he’s been called to rescue groups that set off on banana boats several times.
‘You’ve got a chain of volcanoes that are hanging out of deep oceans, they get huge currents that are swirling through, and so it’s difficult to predict the drift,’ he said.
The father, who is Australian, started the 20-hour journey to retrieve his little girl on Friday morning.
Mr Kilvert has been living in Bougainville island for 30 years and says the waters around the island are very dangerous with several groups having gone missing in recent years
There’s been several reports of missing boats and travellers in waters off Bougainville.
In February last year a group of 12 passengers left the island to travel 100km away to Carteret Islands when their motorised canoe capsized.
The group ended up stranded at sea for 32 days with just four passengers surviving.
Among the eight who died included a baby.
Last August another group of 12 travellers went missing while sailing between Nissan and Buka.
Reports confirmed the group were still unaccounted for in December.