NATION

Man Killed In Nabouwalu Boat Accident, Survivor Tells Of Harrowing Ordeal

Waisale Savai said the Goundar Shipping inter-island vessel, Joseph P, struck their boat at the break of dawn yesterday outside Nabouwalu, Vanua Levu.
31 Jul 2020 09:29
Man Killed In Nabouwalu Boat Accident, Survivor Tells Of Harrowing Ordeal
Waisale Savai.

A local fisherman is reflecting on his survival after an incident where an inter-island vessel crashed into his boat at sea, wrecking the boat and resulting in the death of a fellow fisherman.

Waisale Savai said the Goundar Shipping inter-island vessel, Joseph P, struck their boat at the break of dawn yesterday outside Nabouwalu, Vanua Levu.

Mr Savai was on board his boat, the Sunset, with Joji Turaga of Namena Village, Tailevu North, and Tepana of Rabi. The Nakalawaca father of two children told Fiji Sun that they were sheltering at Nabouwalu Bay listening to the radio, following the strong wind warning for mariners on Wednesday.

“We anchored off the Nabouwalu Jetty listening to the radio on weather update. We heard the engine of Joseph P heading towards us. We thought the vessel was going to move in a different direction, “ Mr Savai said.

“It came straight at us. Everything happened in a glimpse of a second,” he said.

“Tepana the Rabi man was stuck inside the boat; me and Turaga dived into the sea as far as we could to distance ourselves from the moving vessel not be sucked by the propellers.”

Feeling emotional, he said: “I just thought of my two children and my wife, the time I was swimming for my life at sea. I thought I was going to die, I am lucky to be alive.”

His wife Meiva Savai, 31, said she was shocked when she received the news yesterday.

“I thought my husband was the one who died when the news was relayed to us,” Mrs Savai said.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro confirmed that the body of the missing fisherman was found before midday near the Nabouwalu Jetty.

“The information was received from a passenger onboard the vessel that they left Nabouwalu Jetty early morning,” Ms Naisoro said. “There was a collision between the vessel and a wooden fishing boat.”

She said the boat was completely wrecked.

“The half-cabin fishing boat was conveying Joji Turaga, 40-year-old fisherman of Namena Village, Tailevu and Waisale Sawai, 29-year-old fisherman of Nakalawaca Village in Tailevu,” she said. “The third victim who went missing is yet to be identified as the investigation continues.”

The two survivors were taken to Nabouwalu Sub-divisional Hospital.

George Goundar of Goundar Shipping refused to comment when contacted.

Questions sent to the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) remained unanswered when this edition went to press.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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