The ford joining Tulaele and Lotopa has been described as “dangerous". “What is needed is a bridge; this ford becomes very dangerous,” said a 58 year-old mother, Talia Laifaitele of Tulaele.
“Even though the ford was rebuilt not long ago, but still it’s basically over a hundred years old now with countless accidents each year,” she said. “Some accidents back then took lives because of the dangerous structure of the ford and I think this is the right time for the government to do something about it.
“The river had made the ford very slippery when it rains, and it’s not safe for the children and people who live nearby and especially vehicles. “With many families moving inland for better lives this could lead to significant traffic delays and accidents in the near future.
“I know it’s not something that you ask for today then you’ll get it tomorrow.
“But as a mother, I am urging the government to please include the Tulaele Ford in your plans for the next five years.” Earlier this year, a bus was swept off the ford.
An eyewitness told the Samoa Observer that the driver was on his way home after buying a bag of firewood when he lost control of the vehicle.
“It was because the bridge was too slippery and the bus slid into the river."
“Lucky he didn’t get hurt, but he is still in shock.”
Another accident last month saw an elderly man saved after he was swept off the ford.
The man was the driver of the vehicle that was swept into the river when it attempted to cross the ford.
Eyewitness, Sam Fa’avae, said the elderly man’s car was travelling from Tulaele and he was heading for Lotopa.
“He was driving by himself,
“The current was so strong it turned the vehicle back in the direction it came from.
“I saw the car slowly sliding down, with the elderly man still inside.”
At that point, he said he couldn’t do anything to help because the current was very strong. Luckily, 30 meters down the river; the elderly man managed to open his door and got out.
Mr. Fa’avae who lives near the ford said this was not the first time an accident like this has occured.