NEWS

Occupants Escape Water Sweeping Away Vehicle

A man described how a vehicle being swept away by strong currents, was held by a tree, allowing its occupants to swim to safety. Mosese Vunivesilevu, 35, of Nagoro, in
20 Dec 2016 12:46
Occupants Escape Water Sweeping Away Vehicle
Mosese Vunivesilevu shows where the vehicle he was in was swept away. Photo: Charles Chambers
A man described how a vehicle being swept away by strong currents, was held by a tree, allowing its occupants to swim to safety.

Mosese Vunivesilevu, 35, of Nagoro, in Rakiraki said seeing images of his wife and two children flash before him gave him the courage to get out from the vehicle window and swim 400 metres to safety.

Mr Vunivesilevu was a front seat passenger in the Toyota Hybrid vehicle, riding with Police officer, Sabino Duaibe, and couple Amelia and Peni Navakaroko, who were in the back seat.

The incident happened at around 10.30am along the flooded stretch of a recently upgraded road, from the intersection of the road heading to Rakiraki Town and Rakiraki Village.

It is believed Mr Duaibe was on his way to Naria to pick up some items from a family member.

Mr Vunivesilevu said the vehicle started to proceed onto the stretch, almost a kilometre of which was under water.

“One part of the road had a drop and this was where the flood waters were the strongest,” he said.

“I felt the vehicle being lifted and swept sideways towards the sea.”

He said the first thing he did was lower the window beside him.

The vehicle was carried off for about 50 metres when it got lodged against a tree.

“The flood waters then started to come into the vehicle and it was filling up fast, until it reached my chest. As I climbed through the window, I could see my wife and two children’s pictures and I made up my mind that I was going to make it to safety.”

Mr Vunivesilevu said Mr Duaibe also escaped through the same window while the couple at the back also managed to escape, though he does not know how.

“I started to swim towards the intersection while the couple swam towards Rakiraki Village and made it to safety,” he said.

Mr Vunivesilevu said while swimming away, he looked back and saw Mr Duaibe standing on the roof of the vehicle.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said Mr Duaibe also made it to safety.

“As soon as I reached safety, I started to cry and thought that I could have been dead by now,” Mr Vunivesilevu said.

Police investigations into the incident were still continuing.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

 

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