NEWS

Friends Die In Horror Crash

They were childhood buddies. They grew up together in Saweni, Lautoka, went to the same school and sat in the same class. Yesterday,  the Saweni community began mourning the tragic
06 Jun 2017 10:55
Friends Die In Horror Crash
The vehicle park at Sigatoka Police Station, this vehicle had the two victims who are dead. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA

They were childhood buddies.

They grew up together in Saweni, Lautoka, went to the same school and sat in the same class.

Yesterday,  the Saweni community began mourning the tragic death of Krishneel Naicker, 26, and Niko Turagakula, 27. They died after a three-car car accident at Navutu in Nadroga on Sunday night.

Mr Turagakula died on the spot at about 9pm. Six hours later, Mr Naicker died at Lautoka Hospital in the early hours of yesterday morning. Tributes began pouring in as news of their deaths reached Saweni. They were hailed as a perfect example of harmonious race relations in this country.

Mr Turagakula’s older brother, Jone Naiti, 29, said Niko and Krishneel were best friends since childhood.

“They were more like brothers. We grew up together in this community and they attended the same school and classes together. They were  always there for one another,” he said.

“They did not let their cultural and ethnic differences get in their way. In fact, they used them as a source of strength and inspiration. They showed that our diversity can enrich our lives.”

Mr Naiti said everyone in Saweni always talked about their friendship.

Mr Turagakula’s uncle, Asesela Drotini, said: “Niko was very young when his parents separated and since then my wife and I looked after him and his elder brother.

“I have two children, but I was more attached to Niko, he was my pet (favourite).

“Niko was very hardworking, helpful, cheerful person, always supported my family and always obeyed everyone’s orders.

“The last time I saw him was on Saturday when he was drinking with his friend at home,” he said.

“Some Police officers from Sigatoka Police Station came looking for me at 3am and informed me about Niko’s death.

“I was shocked and could not believe that Niko was no more. I am also very sad to know about Krishneel’s death.

“The two were really good friends.”

Mr Drotini said Mr Turagakula had planned to buy a vehicle and build a house.

Mr Turagakula’s funeral service will be held on Friday.

Mr Naicker was a carpenter for Toll Construction on Vunabaka Island in the Mamanuca Group while Mr Turagakula was a driver.

Mr Naicker’s elder brother, Dipesh Naicker, 28, said: “Krishneel was a very cheerful person and he had that nature to keep everyone happy and very hardworking.

“Niko and Krishneel have been good friends since childhood.

“They were more like brothers. When he comes home in the weekend from the island, he would spend time with Niko and us,” he said.

He said the family received information about his brother’s death at around 2am yesterday.

“We have no idea why he had gone to Sigatoka with Niko.

“We will miss Krishneel and we will now leave with his memories.

“Krishneel was planning for his wedding to happen in a grand way in future,” he said.

Mr Naicker’s funeral will be tomorrow. He was the second eldest of four siblings.

Police said the friends’ motor vehicle had allegedly tried to overtake another vehicle at around 9pm and hit an oncoming car that was heading towards Navua from Lautoka.

In the process, a third vehicle was also hit.

A third victim, who was in the same car as the pair sustained serious injuries is admitted in critical condition at the Lautoka Hospital.

The occupants of the other two vehicles are admitted at the Nadi and Lautoka Hospitals as Police investigations continue.

Director Traffic SSP Mahesh Mishra said: “It is of great concern that within a span of a few days four lives have been lost on our roads.

“People need to reassess the way they look at road safety and know that everyone be it a driver or pedestrian has a role to play.

“Stakeholders are doing everything possible to create awareness about road safety.

“However based on the number of bookings made for speeding and drunk and drive it is evident that some continue to gamble with their lives and that of others without considering the suffering it will cause,” he said.

SSP Mishra said the only way to prevent further loss of life or injury will be for people to change their attitude about how to behave on Fiji’s roads.

The road death toll currently stands at 21 compared to 20 for the same period last year.

Edited by Maraia Vula

Feedback:  shahani.mala@fijisun.com.fj

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