NEWS

Floods Claims 5 lives

Flooding which followed torrential rain brought on by Tropical Cyclone Josie claimed the lives of four Fijians while Police continued to search for another in the Western Division yesterday. The
02 Apr 2018 10:54
Floods Claims 5 lives
Damodar Mudiliar holds a photo of his late daughter-in-law, Shinal Mudiliar from her engagement, as his son, Sandeep Mudiliar, (Shinal’s husband) wept silently while being comforted by his mother, Amra Wati at their home in Uciwai Field 40 in Nadi on April 1, 2018. Shinal Mudiliar and her father Veer Gounder were killed after the car they were travelling in was swept away by strong currents while attempting to cross the flooded Tubarua Bridge in Nadi. Photo: Arieta Vakasukawaqa

Flooding which followed torrential rain brought on by Tropical Cyclone Josie claimed the lives of four Fijians while Police continued to search for another in the Western Division yesterday.

The deceased were confirmed as:

Shinal Mudiliar, 25, and her father Veer Goundar, 57, whose bodies were retrieved from Uciwai in Nadi.

Saroj Lata, 51, who was washed away outside her Vatulaulau home in Ba.

John David, 55, who was washed away with his vehicle in Lautoka.

and missing and believed to be dead is Ilaisa Nabou, a chef at Radisson Blu. Search for the 20-year-old continued last night.

Father and daughter become victims of TC Josie

Police officers and helpers at Uciwai, Nadi on April 1 2018 taking a break after working to retrieve the car which Shinal Mudiliar and her father were travelling in. Photo: Arieta Vakasukawaqa

Police officers and helpers at Uciwai, Nadi on April 1 2018 taking a break after working to retrieve the car which Shinal Mudiliar and her father were travelling in. Photo: Arieta Vakasukawaqa

Damodar Mudiliar’s plan to celebrate his son’s one-year wedding anniversary this month was destroyed by Cyclone Josie.

The tragedy came after his daughter-in-law, Shinal Mudiliar was killed alongside her father Veer Gounder when the car they were in was swept away by strong currents while attempting to cross the flooded Tubarua Bridge in Uciwai, Nadi yesterday.

When the Fiji Sun arrived at the scene at around 12pm, a team of Police officers and men from Uciwai Settlement retrieved Ms Mudiliar’s body from a mangrove swamp just 400 metres from where the car was found.

The Police then continued their search until they managed to retrieve Mr Gounder’s body at 4pm. The bodies are kept at Sigatoka Hospital awaiting autopsy.

Shinals husband, 31-year-old Sandeep Mudiliar refused to talk when approached for an interview at their family home in Uciwai Field Forty.

He was participating in a soccer tournament at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka and was originally planning to meet up with his wife in Nadi.

Picture of Late d Shinal Mudiliar from her engagement to Sandeep Mudiliar.

Picture of Late d Shinal Mudiliar from her engagement to Sandeep Mudiliar.

The couple were married around April last year and resided in Wailoku, Suva.

Damodar Mudiliar said that his daughter-in-law and her father spent the night at their home in Uciwai.

“They spent the night here because they had to pick up her brother from the airport this morning. They came all the way from Suva.

“I had requested them not to go because it was still dark and there was heavy rain, but they were excited to meet to that son,” he added.

At around 4am, Damodar Mudiliar said they left for Nadi Airport.

“By 4.45am my daughter-in-law had called me asking for help because they were stuck at the bridge, but by the time I reached there I couldn’t see their car because the bridge was underwater.

“I went to ask a few men to help me look for them. We managed to find the car just few metres away from the bridge, but nobody was inside. That’s when I reported the matter to Police,” the 67-year-old said.

With tears in his eyes, Damodar Mudiliar said news of his daughter in-law’s death came as a shock to their family.

“She was a humble and good woman. We loved her and treated her like our own daughter. I cannot describe the pain my son is going through right now and we were looking forward to celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary,” he added.

Woman swept away

For Jagdish Chand, 50, of Vatulaulau, Ba, finding his wife Saroj Lata, 51, is the only thing his mind yesterday.

At around 6.30am, Mr Chand, his wife and two sons set off to seek shelter as river waters beside his home were rising.

“We go out of our home, my elder son went to the pundit’s (priest) home to look for help. My younger son, my wife and I followed,” Mr Chand said.

“We got stuck near an electricity pole due to the strong winds and all I could remember is that something hit me and I was unconscious.

“I believe my wife could not hold on for long and she went into the river. My younger son was helped by the priest and his family.”

When Fiji Sun spoke to Mr Chand, Police were still searching for his wife.

“I don’t know what happened. When I got up I could not see my wife, I just hope they find her.”

Ms Lata’s body was eventually found and she was confirmed dead.

Man found, confirmed dead in Lautoka

Acting Chief of Operations, Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police (A/ACP) Maretino Qiolevu confirmed that a 55-year-old was found dead in a river after his vehicle veered off the pavement in Drasa Avenue in Lautoka.

John David’s body was alleged to have been swept away by strong currents and was found yesterday afternoon.

Search continues for missing chef

Costello Tabulawaki holds a picture of his eldest son, Ilaisa Nabou, while daughter Nanise Lewatu and Jovesa Tomasi look on at their residence in Sabeto, Nadi, last night. Mr Nabou, a Radisson Blu Resort chef, was swept away while trying to cross a flooded river in Sabeto. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Costello Tabulawaki holds a picture of his eldest son, Ilaisa Nabou, while daughter Nanise Lewatu and Jovesa Tomasi look on at their residence in Sabeto, Nadi, last night. Mr Nabou, a Radisson Blu Resort chef, was swept away while trying to cross a flooded river in Sabeto. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

A family in Sabeto, Nadi is morning the loss of their eldest son who was swept away in the current while trying to cross a flooded river in Sabeto yesterday.

The deceased is 20-year-old, Ilaisa Nabou, a Radisson Blu Resort chef at Denarau Island.

His father Costello Tabulawaki, 51, held a picture of his eldest son and talked about what a good person Mr Nabou was.

“All three siblings went to the river and crossed the other side, but he failed to reach the other side,” he said.

“In the morning he worked about the house fixing the roof and other things. They decided to go for a swim and that was it.”

Police Director Operations, SSP Livai Dreu, confirmed the incident to have happened before mid-day.

A search party made up of Police and villagers were busy searching for the victim’s body.

Police warn public

A/ACP Qiolevu said the deaths in the Western Division have been devastating and is calling on the Public to take heed of the warnings given out by the Police, the National Fire Authority, and the National Disaster Management Office.

Moreover, the Fiji Police Force continued to monitor movements in all towns and shopping areas in the Western Division since last night.

Investigations teams were on stay by for any criminal activities.

He said while there was a team on standby for assistance and rescue, Police would also continue to be on alert for those making using the adverse weather conditions in a negative way. There were reports of break-ins in Ba. Vinod Patel store in Ba Town was broken into by those who took advantage of the bad weather.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback:  waisean@fijisun.com.fj

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