NEWS

Parents’ Hopes Shattered After Girl, 13, Drowns

A mother and father’s hope of meeting their eldest daughter, after not seeing her for almost a year, was shattered yesterday when they heard of her tragic death. Temoarita Tekatau,
09 Dec 2016 11:00
Parents’ Hopes Shattered After Girl, 13, Drowns
From left: Doreen Watisoni, Peri Eteri and her mother, Ritia Corrie yesterday at Savutalele. Photo: Jone Luvenitoga

A mother and father’s hope of meeting their eldest daughter, after not seeing her for almost a year, was shattered yesterday when they heard of her tragic death.

Temoarita Tekatau, who left Rabi in January to join Dudley High School, is now the latest drowning victim in the country.

The 13-year-old was at a swimming spot in Veisari where the incident took place.

Speaking from Rabi, her father, Tekatau Eteri, 35, said: “She’s my eldest daughter and we were looking forward to seeing her on Saturday.

“The last time I saw her was in January when she left for her studies in Suva, and it’s nearly a year now.

“I will really miss my daughter. I have asked my sister to bring her to the island just for me to see her for the last time.”

Mr Eteri said he had high hopes for his daughter which was why he had sent her here to study.

Temoarita was staying in Tacirua with her father’s sister, Peri Eteri.

“When I called her parents yesterday to deliver the sad news, they were really angry at me,” Ms Eteri said.

“Her mother, my sister-in-law, was rolling on the floor tearing her clothes but I was helpless. I couldn’t do anything.

“They have asked me to dress her well and make her look beautiful for the last time.”

Doreen Watisoni, also 13, who is Temoarita’s young aunt, was with her at the time of the incident. Doreen said they had invited Temoarita to her home in Veisari so they could spend some time together before going to the island.

They had planned a swimming trip with two other boys, aged 10 and 12, along with a lady and her six-year-old daughter.

“The lady told us to push her daughter in the water so she can learn to swim,” Doreen said.

“Temoarita was already swimming when the little girl went into the water. She clung onto Temoarita and was pulling her hair. They were both struggling.

“The two boys managed to get the little girl out. I looked at Temoarita who was struggling until we couldn’t see her. I was helpless because I couldn’t swim well.”

Doreen said Temoarita’s body was later found trapped under water by a branch.

The family in Suva are now preparing for Temoarita’s final journey to Rabi where her body will be laid to rest.

The drowning death toll currently stands at 20 compared to 33 for the same period last year, according to Police.

The Police are once again emphasising the importance of supervising children at all times.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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