NEWS

Birthday Boy Tells All

Tevita Kuruilagi, 21, is still trying to come to terms with the loss of his two best mates, Mosese Mamafainoa Buka and Laisenia Lomavatu last weekend. His mates are the
20 Jun 2018 10:03
Birthday Boy Tells All
Tevita Kuruilagi. Photo: Selita Bolanavanua

Tevita Kuruilagi, 21, is still trying to come to terms with the loss of his two best mates, Mosese Mamafainoa Buka and Laisenia Lomavatu last weekend.

His mates are the latest drowning victims in Fiji after an incident at the Sigatoka River at about 11am on Sunday, June 17.

Mr Kuruilagi shared his story with the Fiji Sun yesterday.

Mr Kuruilagi said they had just prepared the lovo and had taken some pots for washing in the river beside their home in Nasau, Sigatoka.

They then decided to swim, not long, after that their friend, Dezley Khan, was swept away by the strong current and he dived in trying to rescue her.

Unfortunately, he was also swept away by the current.

“I held onto Dezley and we were helpless because of the strong current, so I called Laisenia for help. I told him to get us a pot so we could use it as a floater but instead he dived in trying to save us himself,” he said.

Mr Kuruilagi said Laisenia was fighting the current and before he could reach them, he felt weak and was helpless as well.

Another friend dived in to help Laisenia. But, by the time he reached him, he was also weak. By then, Laisenia was sinking.

“Mosese then dived in to help, but he was also unsuccessful so he swam back, by then another of our friend dived in with a pot to rescue Laisenia and the other boy. At the same time, I was also trying to save myself and Dezley.”

Mr Kuruilagi added that at that point in time, Laisenia was drowning and the other boys were trying to save themselves.

They did not know that at the same time, Mosese was also drowning.

He said the young boys from the nearby village came to help and the Police also came to search for their bodies.

He added that Laisenia’s body was located  first and was taken to the hospital, and after few hours, Mosese’s body was found.

Reminiscing their good days, Mr Kuruilagi said they had been best friends since 2011 when they were in Year 9 at Queen Victoria School.

They were all members of the Rewa House.

Mr Kuruilagi said: “I don’t know what to say and I can’t explain how painful this is to me.

“We always watched out for each other and we always made sure that we do things together, we always had each other’s back.”

He said he blamed himself for what had happened because he took them for his birthday and failed to bring them back.

Mr Kuruilagi had been staying with his late friend Mr Buka at their residence in Kinoya.

After Cyclone Winston, he had been staying there till now and only goes to his home in Nadroga in the weekends.

“I always feel at home here with Moji and now that he is gone, I don’t know how or where to start from,” he said.

Meanwhile, funeral arrangements are still being worked out.

The drowning toll now stands at 13 compared to 14 for the same time last year.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback:  selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj



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