NEWS

Teen’s Dream To Be A Vet Drowns In River

Police reports state he was trying to wade towards the river bank near Savukere when he was swept away by strong currents.
08 Jul 2019 12:46
Teen’s Dream To Be A Vet Drowns In River
Family members of the late Josefa Raburau. From left: Temese Koro, Nancy Koro (Aunty) holding a picture of Josefa, Ilaisa Koro, Seaki Koro with young baby Josefa Raburau at their family home at Nuku road, Nausori, on July 7, 2019. Inset: The late Josefa Raburau. Photo: Simione Haravanua

Josefa Raburau Tuiqilai’s goal in life was to become a veterinarian, but the 13-year-old will not live to see the day.

The Year Eight student of St Joseph the Worker Primary School in Nakasi, reportedly drowned while swimming in the Wainibokasi River, Nausori on Saturday afternoon.

Police reports state he was trying to wade towards the river bank near Savukere when he was swept away by strong currents.

He was found later and attempts to revive him proved futile.

Josefa was staying with his aunt Nancy Koro at Feeder Rd, Nausori, and it was almost a Saturday tradition for them to go catch mussels in the river.

Ms Koro said while Josefa did not know how to swim, but he always accompanied them.

“He would stay in shallow waters,” Ms Koro said.

“My whole attention was on my younger kids and we did not realise he was drowning.

“He never shouted or called for help.”

She said it happened so quickly that they only realised he was drowning when they saw his head disappearing under water.

“They looked for him, but he could not be found,” she said.

Ms Koro said Josefa had been under water for almost eight minutes so by the time they pulled him out, he could not be revived.

Josefa’s mother died five years ago and he lived with his grandfather until about a year ago when he also died.

Ms Koro said Josefa was a hardworking and kind person whose absence would be deeply felt by all the family members.

“He was a good boy, he was smart and we had high hopes for him,” Ms Koro said.

“He was looking forward to going to secondary school next year.

“Everybody misses him, my children, our neighbours, all of us.”

Between last Friday and Saturday, two cases of drowning involving children have been reported and the Police are urging parents and guardians to closely supervise children at all times.

According to Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro, the drowning toll currently stands at 18 compared with 21 for the same period last year.

Edited by Percy Kean

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