Valley Ambulance Lies at the Bottom of the Sea

August 22, 2009 12:17:32 AM PDT
There's a Valley connection to the tragic sinking of a ferry in the South Pacific. That ship was carrying an ambulance that had been donated by the city of Sanger. It was headed to a hospital located in the island nation of Tonga more than five thousand miles away.The Sanger community spent a year raising money to send one of their old ambulances to Tonga. But on the trip's last leg, the ferry it was on flipped and sank.

Dozens of people are still declared missing and the island nation is still without the medical help it desperately needs.

Underwater video released this week is our first glimpse of a ferry that sank off the south pacific island of Tonga earlier this month.

More than a hundred people were on board at the time. Only a few were rescued. Also on the ferry was an ambulance. It was donated by the city of Sanger, and filled with 43 boxes of medical supplies.

Lupe Hingano-Green lost distant family members who were on the ship. She is a member of the First United Methodist Church in Sanger. Her dad, Sifa Hingano is the church's former pastor. He's from Tonga, and encouraged the congregation to help raise 10-thousand dollars to send the ambulance abroad.

The Sanger rotary club acquired the ambulance after it was declared surplus property by the city of Sanger. With the help of First United Methodist church, they spent nearly a year trying to deliver it to Tonga.

With the ambulance now gone, and lives lost at sea, the Sanger community says they are more committed than ever to help the people of Tonga.

The First United Methodist Church in Bakersfield also raised money to help send the ambulance to Tonga. Authorities still haven't said how the ferry sank or if the weight of the ambulance may have played a factor.

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