Naiker Sets Record Straight

“We were running late and Lomolomo usually gets flooded, so we came in through that road,” he said. He said when he crossed two bridges, the water level was low.
10 Feb 2022 10:48
Naiker Sets Record Straight
Vineshwaran Naiker’s vehicle crossing the Saru backroad bridge in Lautoka on February 7, 2022. Photo: Melevis Kelvin Kumar. Inset: Vineshwaran Naicker.

Vineshwaran Naiker has clarified how his four-wheel-drive vehicle was swept away by the floodwaters at the Saru Back Road Irish crossing in Lautoka on Monday.

Mr Naiker spoke out after a photo of his vehicle and family were widely shared on social media.

Mr Naiker of Velovelo, Lautoka said the incident happened after 5pm. He had left his workplace in Nadi at 4.30pm.

“We were running late and Lomolomo usually gets flooded, so we came in through that road,” he said. He said when he crossed two bridges, the water level was low.

However, the vehicle automatically stopped when they reached the other side, at the entrance of the Saru Back Road Bridge.

While waiting for the tow truck to arrive, Mr Naiker said the water level rose and the strong currents swept the vehicle away.

“Once we came down the hill, we saw the bridge flooded and when I applied the brakes, the ABS light went on, the brakes were engaged, it went hard, and the vehicle went off,” he explained.

“When I got off the vehicle, the water level was less than the tyre level, maybe four inches less than the tyre level. But the vehicle did not start. After that I waited for 30 minutes; I called for my truck driver.

He said as soon as the truck arrived, they attempted to tie the vehicle to pull it up.

However, the water level had risen by then and currents stronger, forcing his vehicle downstream.

At that instance, he panicked because of the situation he was in.

“We came out through the back passenger seat, I came into that panic mode, and I couldn’t think straight. If the guy hadn’t been with me then I wouldn’t have come out, so he was the one who pulled me out to safety,” he said.

He said when the incident initially happened, no one was present to help.

He denied claims made by an eye-witness, Rajesh Kamal, who had described the incident to the Fiji Sun that the incident happened at around 3pm that day.

“We asked a guy with a tractor he simply said he couldn’t help. There was also a truck that collects bottles, we also asked the driver for help, but he couldn’t,” he said.

“There were a few people who tried to help, but they didn’t have vehicles.”


Complaint lodged

He also expressed his concerns about the online bullying copped by the couple following the incident.

It has emotionally affected them.

“The people who don’t have anything better to do, they were being negative without knowing the true story. We’ve gone through a lot of shame because of the negative comments, it really brings a person down,” he said.

“I’m not really concerned about the vehicle because a vehicle is a material thing. We can buy it again, but the harassment part, people think that we did it on purpose. People don’t really know what happened, and all the negative comments, it’s really hard.”

He said he was also concerned with members of the public posting of a recent photo of him and his wife taken on the day they bought the vehicle.

This forced him to lodge a report at the Lautoka Police Station.

Mr Naiker is taking legal action against those harassing the couple and spreading misinformation about the incident online.


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