NEWS

Sovi Bay Accident: Hero Driver Tells

The 47-year-old from Nabau, Nadroga, was driving the Coastline Transport Limited bus, which was involved in an accident along the Queens Road at Sovi Bay, on the Coral Coast.
29 Nov 2019 11:52
Sovi Bay Accident: Hero Driver Tells
“Hero” driver Rupeni Siganisucu recovering at the Lautoka Hospital on November 28, 2019. He is still unable to walk. Photo: Salote Qalubau

It was either the ditch or the oncoming truck.

That’s how fast bus driver Rupeni Siganisucu had to think when he saw a truck hurtling towards him on his side of the road on Tuesday morning.

Dubbed a “hero” by one of the survivors on the said day, a wrong decision would have meant serious injuries to the children and parents on board his bus or even worse, death.

The 47-year-old from Nabau, Nadroga, was driving the Coastline Transport Limited bus, which was involved in an accident along the Queens Road at Sovi Bay, on the Coral Coast.

Mr Siganisucu’s quick action that morning saved his life and that of the 60 passengers from a Sunday school group from Navosa, who were on an excursion trip to Suva.

While lying on his hospital bed at the Lautoka Hospital his left leg showed the scars and injuries he suffered from the near-death ordeal. He is unable to walk at the moment.

“I was at the bend; I saw the truck coming straight at us. He came onto our lane and was heading straight at us. I can say he was in good speed,” he said.

“I managed to save the front of the bus, but he hit the back. When I swung the bus, I had to make it go straight otherwise the bus would have tumbled to the side, which endangered the lives of my passengers.”

Rupeni Siganisucu with wife Laite Vurabere on November 28, 2019, at the Lautoka Hospital. Photo: Salote Qalubau

Rupeni Siganisucu with wife Laite Vurabere on November 28, 2019, at the Lautoka Hospital. Photo: Salote Qalubau

Mr Siganisucu is among the four people, which includes three children, who remain admitted in the Lautoka Hospital.

“I am very lucky. I have experienced similar incidents before. Once, the front tyre blew,” he said.

He has been driving for Coastline Transport for the past two years, but his driving experience spans more than 20 years.

His wife, Laite Vurabere, 42, said the entire family was pleased and relieved that he and the passengers survived a potentially fatal crash.

“We were shocked to hear about the incident. At least no one lost their lives; he managed to save them,” she said.

Coastline Transport director Mohammed Imtiaz Gul said: “What the driver did at that moment was very crucial. It did not result in any death.”

Police investigations continue and no one has been charged yet.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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