NATION

Mau Quarry Landslide: Ralulu Siblings Now Without Parents

Twenty-five-year-old Adi Mereseini Ralulu is still in shock and trying to come to terms with news of the sudden death of her father. The eldest of five siblings is the
22 Mar 2020 12:05
Mau Quarry Landslide: Ralulu Siblings Now Without Parents
INSET: In happier days ... Aporosa Ratu Ralulu with his eldest daughter Adi Mereseini Ralulu. Fiji Police Force officers on march 21, 2020 are assisted by quarry workers recover the body of Island Quarry Fiji managing director, David Johnson. Photo: NDMO

Twenty-five-year-old Adi Mereseini Ralulu is still in shock and trying to come to terms with news of the sudden death of her father.

The eldest of five siblings is the daughter of 47-year-old Aporosa Ratu Ralulu, who was buried alive as a result of a horrific landslide at the Island Quarry Fiji work site in Mau, Namosi, on Friday.

Mr Ralulu and two colleagues were victims of the fatal landslide. Also killed were quarry managing director David Johnson and manager Seci Roko.

When the Fiji Sun visited the family residence in Vakabalea, Navua yesterday, an emotional Ms Ralulu said her younger siblings were still questioning her when their father would return home.

“My father was a hardworking man; I still can’t believe that he is no more” Ms Ralulu said with tears.

“When we were called to identify his body at the Suva morgue, I was a bit hesitant, I didn’t want to believe it was him.

“He was the sole breadwinner of our family and he worked hard to look after all of us. Our mum passed away a few years back.

“Friday morning was just like any other ordinary morning for us. He said goodbye and he told us to wait for him to return home in the afternoon. That was our last conversation.”

In happier days ... Aporosa Ratu Ralulu with his eldest daughter Adi Mereseini Ralulu.

In happier days … Aporosa Ratu Ralulu with his eldest daughter Adi Mereseini Ralulu.

She said her father had worked as a chief mechanic at the quarry for the past four years and dedicated his life towards his five children.

“My father worked hard at work and also on his farm, which was a source of livelihood for our family,” she said.

“He didn’t like it when we were lacking on anything, he was always ready to look after our needs, especially when we were all still at school.”

In spite of their tragic loss, Ms Ralulu said she was ready to fill in the role of being a mum and dad to her younger siblings and continue the legacy of being hardworking, just like her father.

“I will miss my father dearly, but I know he will always be looking down on us.”

The family will make funeral arrangements after the postmortem examination results were released by Police. Mr Ralulu is survived by his three daughters and two sons.

Meanwhile, the body of Mr Johnson was recovered yesterday morning when the weather had cleared. It is understood that Mr Johnson was standing up the hill before it collapsed on him and his two colleagues.

Close friend Graham Davis was devastated to learn of Mr Johnson’s death.

“Reeling at the loss of such an enterprising, thoughtful and perceptive person who was a keen observer of life and with whom I shared a great deal. David came from one of the great Fiji families,” he said.

“His great grandfather, William Henry Johnson, came to Fiji in 1890 and was a pioneer trader, acquiring the nickname “Tavua” because of the business he first established in the town of the same name.

“His grandfather, WG Johnson was the legendary “Tui Johnson” of WR Carpenter fame – another titan of South Sea island trade. And his father, Miles Johnson was a lawyer.”

Mr Johnson grew up in Fiji and from time to time lived in Cranbrook, Australia. He completed a degree in geology at Sydney University before establishing a successful career in mining, including his own company Metgasco.

“We are deeply shocked by this terrible tragedy and send our condolences to David’s family, including his mother, Peggy, and his many friends in Fiji, especially his business partner, Harvie Probert,” Mr Davis said.

Minister for Infrastructure and Disaster Management Jone Usamate said the quarry was now closed to allow the Mineral Resources Department to carry out investigations concerning the incident.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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