NATION

Nabou crash survivor marks 21st birthday

Although Nabou crash survivor  Jekope Vunicagi celebrated life with his coming of age on Friday night, he still remembered the tragedy. Vunicagi celebrated his 21st birthday with six survivors of
30 Sep 2018 15:16
Nabou crash survivor marks 21st birthday
From left: Iliesa Rokubu 20, Maikeli Vula, 18, Laisenia Vunibola 16, Waisea Ratu, 15, Sailasa Misimisi, 23, Litiana Mainewa, 20, Joeli Ratulevu,18, Inoke Bulimaitoga, 23, Nemani Turagaiviu,16, surrounds Jekope Vunicagi during his 21 st birthday celebration at Narewa village in Nadi yesterday. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Although Nabou crash survivor  Jekope Vunicagi celebrated life with his coming of age on Friday night, he still remembered the tragedy.

Vunicagi celebrated his 21st birthday with six survivors of that horrific accident in Nabou that claimed eight lives on August 4.

With the celebration came the revelation for the first time of his mobile phone which was retrieved from the crash site and had the word “JISU” on its screen.

The phone has been kept in that manner until today.

However, Friday belonged to Vunicagi and his family’s deepest appreciation that he had been given another chance at life.

His father, Kalaveti Vueti, said it was not only a birthday celebration, but a celebration of life for his son and the six victims from the accident, who were present during the celebration at their home in Narewa Village in Nadi.

“It’s a miracle,” he said.

“My son’s 21st birthday celebration is not only for him, but also for the victims of the Nabou accident.

“This birthday is just to thank God for everything he has done for us because if it wasn’t for Him, we wouldn’t be having his birthday celebration today.”

Mr Vueti, who is a cook coordinator at Air Terminal Services (ATS) in Nadi, said a few days after the accident occurred he took a week’s leave from work to be by his son’s side.

“I grew close to him when I was with him in the hospital,” he said.

“I was telling my son, without the powerful name of Jesus, he wouldn’t be here today.

“Last week I testified in church because of what the Lord has done to these little kids in healing them quickly.”

Mr Vunicagi said: “I am really grateful and lucky that God gave me another breadth of life to celebrate my birthday with my friend’s despite by best friend Ruitoka passing away.

“I cannot believe that he won’t be able to cherish this moment with me tonight. It is the love and mercy God gave me.”

The eldest of six siblings was seated on the second last seat of  the minivan.

He recounted, “I did not see the crash but I felt that we were thrown to the front while eating and drinking.”

The group of players were on their way to Suva to watch the semi-final of the Coke Zero Deans Super
Rugby at the ANZ Stadium when they encountered the tragic incident.

The survivors of the crash present at the event included Iliesa  Rokubu, 20, Maikeli Vula, 18, Laisenia Vunibola 16, Waisea Ratu, 15,  Sailasa Misimisi, 23, Litiana Mainewa, 20, Joeli Ratulevu,18,  Inoke Bulimaitoga, 23, and Nemani Turagaiviu,16.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback:  nicolette.chambers@fijisun.com.fj



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