Child’s body found, memorial service held for victims of Solomons boating tragedy

The body of a child has been found in Solomon Islands and police say he's one of nine children who went missing at sea on New Year's Day.

A boat carrying 14 people left Gizo for the Shortland Islands but failed to reach its destination.

The body of a woman was found near Zinoa Island on Tuesday - about 100 kilometres from the Shortlands.

Health officials on Taro Island had confirmed the body was that of a child, which is being kept at Taro Police Station for further investigation.

Police said a family, travelling from Supsizae to Taro in Choiseul Province to attend a church service, found the child.

The bodies of a woman and a child were recovered, police said.

Meanwhile, a memorial service was held at Saint Peter's Cathedral in Gizo for the victims of the New Year's Day boat tragedy.

Church official Rellysdom Malakana said the service was attended by hundreds of people.

Police and maritime search and rescue teams had called off the recovery operation on 7 January.

Malakana said villagers along the Moli and Taro islands continue to search for those still missing.

He said after the service, boatloads of mourners travelled out to sea to place wreaths for their loved ones.

Gizo resident Terence Ziru, who knew some of those missing, said hundreds of people gathered in the town's St Peter's Cathedral to pay their respects.

Ziru said it's been a tough two weeks for the families of the victims.

"There hasn't been much information about the child. He was only identified when the body was picked up and brought to Taro, the capital of Choiseul Province.

"The medical inspectors had inspected the body and they had determined that it was of a child. The woman, however, was identified through the tattoo.

"The whole public is totally affected by the incident especially with the young children. They were all there, everybody was there whether they were related or not.

"But everyone wanted to show their support for the families. And Gizo being such a small community-based township, everybody knows everyone."


Photo supplied RNZ Pacific  Caption: A family lays a wreath during the memorial service for the 14 people missing at sea.