NEWS

Adrian Underwood: Drone Attack Victim Laid To Rest

Fijian killed after an explosive-laden drone bombed Israeli ship he worked on; Family of the late Adrian Underwood will watch live feed of funeral in UK
24 Sep 2021 11:09
Adrian Underwood: Drone Attack Victim Laid To Rest
The Underwood family (from left) Peter Underwood (brother), mum Unaisi Underwood and sister Christine at Laucala Beach on September 23, 2021. Photo: Shalveen Chand

On July 29, an explosive-laden drone made in Iran attacked an Israeli-operated merchant tanker Mercer Street off the coast of Oman.

The explosion took the life of Adrian Underwood, a Fijian national who was part of the security detail of the ship. He was in the pilothouse when the so-called ‘Kamikaze Drone’ hit the ship.

Mr Underwood was not supposed to have been part of the trip. He had swapped shifts with his best friend Dino Lord.

Mr Underwood was a former British Army soldier who had served his time and retired. He met his wife Kesaia while in the army.

Tonight, he will be laid to rest in Britain. Almost two months after his death. The Underwood family has set up a small shrine inside their home and have printed matching tee-shirts and join in the funeral from home.

 

The dreadful call

It was 3am on July 20 when the phone rang at the Underwood home in Laucala Beach. It was Mr Underwood’s wife who had called. Adrian’s mother, Unaisi Underwood, the recipient of the call, wailed.

His sister Christine and brother-in-law Iokabe Seru ran in. Mr Seru took the phone from Mrs Underwood and spoke to Adrian’s wife.

“I told her breathe. You know what to do. You have been in the army, you must be prepared for this,” Mr Seru said.

 

Nicknamed ‘Qase’

Adrian was the youngest of the four siblings. He grew up in Samabula and was a Marist scholar.

He was working for Telecom Fiji when he was recruited into the British Army in 2000. He was 23 then. According to the Underwood family, Adrian had started doing the private security detail a year ago.

“Adrian called every day. He will be having breakfast and calling. He would put us in a conference call with our brother William,” said Christine.

Mrs Underwood described her son as a quiet person. His cool and calm demeanour earned him the nickname ‘Qase’, given by his father.

“My son never missed a day to call. He made sure he stayed in touch and would tell us that he was going out at sea and would not be calling for a month or so. His last call was the day he set sail. He sent his nephew a video message wishing him a happy 21st birthday,” she said.

Mr Underwood is survived by his wife Kesaia and their six-year-old-son Zack.

The attack on the ship has been heavily criticised by the international community.

 

 

 



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