NATION

Waterproof Phone Saves Three in Sea Mishap

A little prayer asking for God’s help and a waterproof mobile phone given by former national halfback Jone Daunivucu, saved the lives of his 67-year-old father and two other Vuaki villagers
10 Feb 2017 11:12
Waterproof Phone Saves Three in Sea Mishap

A little prayer asking for God’s help and a waterproof mobile phone given by former national halfback Jone Daunivucu, saved the lives of his 67-year-old father and two other Vuaki villagers of Yasawa on Wednesday.

Daunivucu, who currently plays in France, brought the phone back as a gift for his dad, Setefano Vueti, who owned the 28 foot half cabin boat that sunk in open, shark infested seas between Vomo Island and Waya Island off Lautoka.

With tears streaming down his face, Mr Vueti said he spoke to Daunivucu who called from France yesterday morning and made that emotional plea to him.

“Tukuna o koya – ta, au kerekere. Sa rauta mada na soko.” (He said – dad, I am asking you to please don’t sail anymore.”

Two others who were with him, Suliano Bogileka, 32 and Varasiko Tuilawa, 33 survived the ordeal caused by a freak wave.

A passenger and cargo ferry, Tavewa Seabus, owned by Don Bruce who also owns Coral View Island Resort in Yasawa received a call from Lautoka Police and diverted his boat to where the vessel had sunk and rescued the trio.

Mr Bruce’s gesture has been commended through the Duavata Community Policing imitative by Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho who said the outcome could have been worse if it wasn’t for Mr Bruce’s willingness to assist.

“The support and quick action by Mr Don Bruce and his crew of Tavewa Seabus resulted in the successful rescue of three people whose boat had capsized during the bad weather spell yesterday.

“When we are able to work together we can achieve so much more and we are grateful to Mr Bruce and his team who were able to help us as most of our officers were deployed on operations during the periods of flooding yesterday,” Brigadier-General Qiliho said.

Describing the ordeal, Mr Vueti said they left Lautoka Fisheries Wharf at around 10am and had passed the last beacon near Vomo Island and were out in open waters.

“It was not that rough and at one point I was placing the compass I had in my hand on the floor and this big wave carried the boat up and it hit the water hard when it came down.”

“Water started coming in and we tried to use tarpaulins to stem the water but it kept gushing in.”

Mr Vueti recalled that he saw a hole on the timber floorboard which had been damaged in an earlier trip.

“There was nothing we could do and the boat began to sink.”

The three remained standing on the boat for almost three hours while Mr Vueti made frantic calls “to all the numbers I had stored on my phone.”

“Luckily the phone is water proof and as the boat began to sink, I said out loudly – dear God please help us.”

Nearly three hours later, he saw the Seabus coming towards them and he silently thanked God for saving their lives.

Crew members from the Seabus along with Mr Bogileka and Mr Tuilawa tried to free the 40hp engine but without any diving mask, the mission was abandoned.

Yesterday morning, the three along with other youths from Vuaki left in a fibre glass  boat to recover the engine but when they reached the spot, the boat was missing.

Mr Vueti said the boat and engine cost him over $30,000 and was over 10-years -old.

Asked whether he would heed Daunivucu’s plea, Mr Vueti said he was getting old and felt he should look seriously at sailing.

“I have been sailing since I was 18-years-old and have been through cyclones and really bad weather and my entire life has centred on being at sea where I feel at ease.”

“My two older sons have asked me that the family needs to sit together and discuss what will happen next.”



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