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Student Sees Friend Drown

Student Sees Friend Drown
Kusitino Baleiqeleni with his wife Siliana Ladoge and their youngster Kusitino Jnr at their home in Natabua on April 8, 2018. Photo: Charles Chambers
April 09
11:15 2018

A St Thomas High School student in Lautoka yesterday sent a simple message to all youths in Fiji – stay away from the flood waters.

Ilaisa Lawevuso, 15, made the plea after carrying his 12-year-old friend, who had just drowned, on his shoul­ders out of the Natabua Creek near the Fiji Correc­tions Services Natabua com­plex on Saturday.

Dead is Silio Samuela, a student of Na­tabua Primary School in Lautoka.

“I saw him calling for help and dived in with another friend to look for him and saw him surface, but he was pulled under again,” said a visibly-shaken Ilaisa, who is a Year 9 student.

Ilaisa Lawevuso, who carried Samuela's body from the Natabua Creek. Photo: Charles Chambers

Ilaisa Lawevuso, who carried Samuela’s body from the Natabua Creek. Photo: Charles Chambers

Samuela’s dad, Kusitino Baleiqeleni, said his son – the second-eldest of five children – had gone with his mother, Suliana Ladoge, to the Lautoka market earlier in the day.

“He came home, had lunch and wanted to go fishing with three of his friends, but I told him not to go,” Mr Baleiqeleni said.

“But he ran off with friends and all after­noon we thought he was watching televi­sion at a home nearby.”

Mr Baleiqeleni said he was shocked when officials from the DISMAC unit showed up at about 6pm on Saturday to relay the bad news to him.

“We were shocked when my wife and I were told,” he said.

Ilaisa said when they reached the spot for fishing, Samuela went further upstream and said he would swim down to them but the boys told him to be careful.

“After a while, he started call­ing for help and my friends and I went into the water to look for him. We saw him briefly before he was dragged underwater again.”

The only photo the family has of Silio Samuela when he was much younger.

The only photo the family has of Silio Samuela when he was much younger.

The next time the friends saw Samuela he was lying on a rock.

“I went over and asked one of my friends to help lift him onto my shoulder and car­ried him up to the cassava patch before asking one of them to call the officers from the Corrections facility.”

Mrs Ladoge said she could not sleep on Saturday night because she kept weeping for her son.

The family will await the report of the post-mortem examination before arranging Samuela’s funeral later in the week.

Edited by Epineri Vula



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