Caught up in the Solomons ?storm
By IAN THOMSON
IT has been an anxious couple of days for Grafton woman Lyn Madden, whose husband and two other local businessmen are on a fishing trip in the strife-torn Solomon Islands.
Peter Madden of Madden's Newsagency, Allan Gough of Bailey and Gough Real Estate and Bananacoast Credit Union manager Terry Marsh chose the Solomons as the spot for their annual fishing trip.
With them are former Grafton builder Scott Faulkner, who now lives on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, and two mates from the Tweed area.
The six keen fishermen have been on a remote island, probably unaware of the civil unrest in Honiara, where riots have erupted and Australian police have been attacked by angry mobs.
Peter Madden's wife, Lyn, said yesterday she became concerned for her husband's safety after reading a newspaper report about the rioting in Honiara.
"I haven't been able to contact Peter because mobile phones don't work on the island," she said.
"It's an extremely remote island, right up the top of the country."
Lyn Madden sought help from the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra, where a spokeswoman said authorities in Honiara would keep an eye out for the Australian fishermen.
She said according to their schedule, Peter and the others were due to fly into Honiara yesterday afternoon.
"Hopefully Peter will make contact. They're due home tomorrow (Friday), either by a scheduled aircraft or by a military plane, depending on how bad the situation is over there at the time."
Allan Gough's partner at Bailey and Gough First National, Derek Morgan, said he'd sent a text message to his partner after learning of the unrest, but he had received no reply.
"I'm not all that worried at the moment," Mr Morgan said.
"Our government does a very good job in situations like this. I'm sure the boys will be home safe and sound."
The Grafton businessmen and their mates must have flown into a storm when they left the remote island for Honiara yesterday. It's possible they have been totally unaware of the the problems in the Solomon Islands' capital.
Much of Honiara was ablaze yesterday as rioters and looters went on the rampage. The violence erupted on Tuesday after the surprise election of Snyder Rini as the country's new Prime Minister.