Twins survive 20-mile shark ordeal

Matthew Brace
Wednesday 07 May 1997 23:02

New Zealanders are known for their adventurous spirit but Sarah (above, right) and Joanne Ingham, teenaged twins from the Land of the Long White Cloud, have boosted their country's reputation with a fantastic journey.

The 18-year-old twins stowed away on a Malaysian container ship three months ago. They and a 27-year-old crewman, Ja'afar Bin Mohamed Zan, apparently jumped overboard on 20 April when the ship passed through Princess Charlotte Bay, off Australia's Queensland coast.

An extensive search across inhospitable outback failed to find them and it was thought that if the drop from the ship had not killed them, the 20-nautical-mile swim through shark- and crocodile-infested waters probably had.

However, against all the odds, they were found on Tuesday by Aborigines, who fed them and brought them to the town of Coen on the Cape York peninsula and alerted police.

They had lived for 19 days off shellfish.

Barry John Port, one of the few remaining Aboriginal trackers with the police service, said: "I think it is amazing that they survived. They were downhearted, tired and had sore feet and they were starving".

A Cairns Police Inspector, Ian Swan, said: "They've been examined and they're in quite good health."

The three were expected to face quick deportation, having cost the community thousands of dollars in search costs during their adventure. Matthew Brace

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