NEWS

Bodies Found On Christmas, Couple Inside Partly Submerged Vehicle At Kasavu

They were identified as 31-year-old Tei Ete Joe O’Brien and 22-year-old Merewalesi Rovoka Naibau Rokoluita, Police said.
26 Dec 2020 09:59
Bodies Found On Christmas, Couple Inside Partly Submerged Vehicle At Kasavu
Authorities salvage the wrecked vehicle on December 25, 2020. INSET: Photo: Ronald Kumar INSET: One of the victims... Tei Ete Joe O’Brien.

A loud noise was heard in Kasavu, Nausori, on Christmas morning.

It was a little after 4am. Tomasi Rakoroi looked out his window and saw nothing. It was then when a few trucks passed by, he thought it was the trucks.

Nobody else in the community bothered to check also, even though some neighbours said they had heard the crashing sound too.

It was not until 9am when Mr Rakoroi and his brother noticed a purple-coloured vehicle partially submerged in the Drekainakelo Creek, right next to the Rewa River.

“The vehicle was upside down. We went down to check the vehicle. We saw people inside and at the point realised that they were dead. So, we called the Police,” he said.

The vehicle was coming from Nausori, heading towards Korovou. There was no evidence of tyre skid marks visible, but barriers on the road were broken with the vehicle landing in the creek, almost three metres down from the road.

Two people died after the vehicle they were travelling in veered off the road and landed in the Drekainakelo Creek in Kasavu, outside Nausori on December 25, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Two people died after the vehicle they were travelling in veered off the road and landed in the Drekainakelo Creek in Kasavu, outside Nausori on December 25, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Police officers were quick to the scene. A man and woman have been reported dead as a result of the crash.

Police chief operations officer Assistant Commissioner of Police Abdul Khan said their search and rescue divers combed the area to see if there were more people in the vehicle. When this question was cleared, a Hiab truck was called to lift the purple Nissan X-Trail, registered EQ930.

The vehicle pulled out of the Drekainakelo Creek in Kasavu, outside Nausori on December 25, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The vehicle pulled out of the Drekainakelo Creek in Kasavu, outside Nausori on December 25, 2020.
Photo: Ronald Kumar

The vehicle was salvaged from the creek after midday. Police from Nausori cordoned off the area to ensure the vehicle was brought safely onto the road. Once this was done, the bodies of a man and a woman were removed from the vehicle.

The wreckage of the vehicle pulled out of the creek at Drekai Nakelo in Tailevu on December 25, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

The wreckage of the vehicle pulled out of the creek at Drekai Nakelo in Tailevu on December 25, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

They were identified as 31-year-old Tei Ete Joe O’Brien and 22-year-old Merewalesi Rovoka Naibau Rokoluita, Police said.

One of the victims... Tei Ete Joe O’Brien.

One of the victims… Tei Ete Joe O’Brien.

It is believed the two were heading for Natovi Jetty to catch a ferry and head to Savusavu. Mr O’Brien is believed to be from Vatadamu in Savusavu.

Family members of Mr O’Brien were in shock. Cousin Sandra Newton said she had just been chatting with him online the past week. Another cousin of Mr O’Brien, Jacob Lanyon, was on his way to Savusavu, but was unaware of the incident.

A workmate of Mr O’Brien, Daniel Chand, said Ete had taken a break and was staying with the girlfriend in Suva. He said he was going to take his girlfriend to Vatudamu in Savusavu.

Ms Rokoluita is believed to be from Tonia Village in Ra and was staying in Davuilevu.

The bodies of two people were retrieved from the vehicle. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The bodies of two people were retrieved from the vehicle. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Police report:

It was a tragic Christmas for two families following a motor vehicle accident near Kasavu, Tailevu which claimed the lives of their loved ones.

The accident occurred this morning and the two victims were allegedly heading to Natovi when their car veered off the road and landed in the near-by river.

Their bodies were retrieved from the car after it was pulled from the river.

The two victims have been identified as a 31 year old man originally from Savusavu and was residing in Wainibokasi while the second victim has been identified as a 22year old woman originally from Tonia Village, Tailevu and was residing with relatives in Davuilevu.

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Divers from the Special Response Unit were deployed to the scene to conduct search operations around the scene of the accident, as investigators continue to liaise with close family and friends to determine if they were traveling with someone else.

Investigations continue.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj



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