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Fiji Sun Person Of The Year 8: Driver’s Heroic Act Not Forgotten By Passengers

The bus driver’s quick thinking and evasive action last month allowed many of his passengers to celebrate Christmas in four days.
26 Dec 2019 10:05
Fiji Sun Person Of The Year 8: Driver’s Heroic Act Not Forgotten By Passengers
Rupeni Siganisucu with wife Laite Vurabere at the Lautoka Hospital on November 28, 2019. INSET: The bus that Rupeni Siganisucu drove. Photo: Salote Qalubau

Rupeni’s surname, Siganisucu, means Christmas.

The bus driver’s quick thinking and evasive action last month allowed many of his passengers to celebrate Christmas in four days.

Whether it had to do with his name is pure conjecture.

What is clear was that if he had not driven the bus into the bush it would have collided with an oncoming truck. That would have been catastrophic.

The passengers called him a “hero” for saving them. We think so too. He suffered leg injuries but many of the passengers were safe.

The 47-year-old from Nabau, Nadroga, was driving the Coastline Transport Limited bus when the accident happened on the Queens Road at Sovi Bay, on the Coral Coast.

Mr Siganisucu’s action that morning saved his 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.

“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.”

The bus that Rupeni Siganisucu drove.  Photo: Salote Qalubau

The bus that Rupeni Siganisucu drove. Photo: Salote Qalubau

Mr Siganisucu is one of the four people who were admitted at the Lautoka Hospital.

“I am very lucky. I have experienced similar incidents before. Once, the front tyre blew,  anything could have happened,” 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.

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

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

“As a result no one died,” he said.

Edited by Nemani Delaibatiki 

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