NATION

Nabou Crash Survivor Tells Three Years On

Nemani Turagaiviu was 16-years-old when his life changed. He was one of the survivors of the worst accident Fiji had witnessed, the Nabou tragedy of 2018.
02 Jul 2022 19:30
Nabou Crash Survivor Tells Three Years On
Nemani Turagaiviu was only 16 years old at the time of the accident in 2018 at Nabou, Nadroga. Photo Waisea Nasokia

Nemani Turagaiviu was 16-years-old when his life changed.

He was one of the survivors of the worst accident Fiji had witnessed, the Nabou tragedy of 2018.

Eight people lost their lives following that fateful day on August 4.

Four passengers in the van including the driver and two from the truck which it collided with died on site. Two oth­ers in the van succumbed to injuries days after.

The van was taking a majority of the passengers, who were students from the West to the 2018 Deans Final at the ANZ Stadium.

The van collided with a Grace Road Company truck.

Now 20, Mr Turagaiviu says his life has never been the same since.

 

Bringing memories back

The Yavusania, Nadi native lives remembering the hor­ror every single day.

“During the night, I am sleepless. Being worried, think­ing about what’s happened and thinking about my family members that were lost in the tragic accident,” he said.

He said that day will forever be imprinted on his memory.

“I saw everything. It was the first time for me to be in­volved in such big incident. For me, looking and seeing it happen changed my life. We were in a rush, top speed I won’t lie,” he said.

“I am very lucky to be alive. Lucky that I could tell a story about how we got into an accident as a lot of people still do. Every time I go for a grog session, I tell them what I saw, I cannot lie, and we were on good speed.

According to Mr Turagaiviu, he was seated behind the driver while the rest were asleep.

He added the mini bus moved to the other lane where the oncoming vehicle was coming head on with the crash.

He sat there with his body numbed; he later woke up in the night only to find himself at the Intensive Care Unit.

“Just waiting for the doctor to release me, when I came home, the village was new to me.

“I returned after one month and two weeks of hospitalisa­tion.”

His dream of becoming an aircraft engineer vanished since that incident.

But he continues to find a way to keep fit playing rugby and helping with family chores at home.

“It seems I have lost years and wish to go back to school to fulfil my dream to become an aircraft engineer,” he said.

The scene where the three-vechicle smash up took place at Nabou in Nadroga. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

The scene where the three-vechicle smash up took place at Nabou in Nadroga. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Compensation and realizing father’s dream

He received $40,000 from the Accident Compensation Commission of Fiji and used it to realise his father’s dream to renovate their house where he resides.

He also gave a portion to the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma while kept some for a rainy day.

His reason for speaking out now is to encourage everyone to engage in safe travels on our roads.

His sister died in 2008 after she was struck by lightning while she was tying their cattle. His dad passed away in 2014.

The other survivors include: Maikeli Vula and Sailasa Misimisi both in the British Army and Jekope Vunicagi, Inoke Bulamaitoga, Laisenia Vunibola, Iliesa Ratuva, Jo­eli Ratulevu and lone female Litiana Mainewa.

Feedbacks: waisean@fijisun.com.fj



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