NEWS

Lakena Bus Accident: Dead Girl Acted As Shield For Boy, 7, Saving His Life

Father says son Edward was trapped underneath Makereta unaware that she was dead. She acted as a shield from falling debris in bus crash.
11 Oct 2019 10:30
Lakena Bus Accident: Dead Girl Acted As Shield For Boy, 7, Saving His Life
Peter and Ian Mataika with their mother, Asena Tutu, holding a picture of daughter Makereta Mataika. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga Insert: Makereta Mataika.

Seven-year-old Edward George was trapped underneath Makereta Mataika, unaware that she was dead.

He was perhaps the luckiest of the children who survived the bus crash at Lakena Hill on Wednesday afternoon.

Makereta acted as a shield from falling debris during the crash, which saved his life.

Edward’s father, Navin Dutt, yesterday recounted the moments after the crash, as told to him by his brother, Ashneel Dutt.

Ashneel was among people who helped pull Edward from the wreckage.

Mr Dutt said: “Ashneel said Edward was the luckiest. He could have died too if Makereta wasn’t there.”

Makereta, 13, and Steven Clarence Naibuka, 10, died on the spot.

Makereta Mataika.

Makereta Mataika.

Edward is one of the two children admitted at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital’s Children’s Ward. He was the last person to be rescued on the fateful day.

Mr Dutt said his son was stuck under Makereta.

“They had to cut through the bus wall and used a lever to lift the debris off Makereta and Edward before they pulled them out. My brother pulled him out,” Mr Dutt said.

“He was stuck under Makereta. When they were pulled out, there was very little movement in my Eddie. I thank God for his life and pray over the loss of Makereta.”

Peter and Ian Mataika with their Mum Asena Tutu holding a picture of her daughter Makereta Mataika. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

Peter and Ian Mataika with their Mum Asena Tutu holding a picture of her daughter Makereta Mataika. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga. Insert: Makereta Matiaka.

Mr Dutt said Edward suffered internal injuries to his chest as a result of the pressure on his body. He said the neurosurgeon was also present to have a look at him.

Edward will have to stay in the hospital until he is given the all clear.

Edward George, 7, at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital Children’s Ward in Suva on October 10, 2019. Photo: Shalveen Cha

Edward George, 7, at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital Children’s Ward in Suva on October 10, 2019. Photo: Shalveen Chand

Rishika Dutt

Next to Edward’s bed is 13-year-old Rishika Dutt. She suffered injuries to the left side of her chest and has breathing problems.

Her mother, Subeen Ram, said Rishika was given morphine every five hours to ease the pain.

Subeen Ram with her daughter, Rishika Dutt, at the CWM Children’s Ward. Photo: Shalveen Chand

Subeen Ram with her daughter, Rishika Dutt, at the CWM Children’s Ward.
Photo: Shalveen Chand

“She was trapped under bus seats. As the bus tumbled, bus seats fell on her crushing her chest,” she said.

“I pray that she improves. And I hope the authorities look into the bus safety and roads in Lakena.”

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

Colonial War Memorial Hospital’s Children’s Ward

The bus involved in the horrific accident that claimed two lives. It was pulled out from Lakena Hill in Nausori on October 9, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

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