Three killed in day of horror

By Pai Mulitalo Ale ,

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HAPPIER TIMES: The late Phoenix Paul Junior Amerika (right) and his brother Eugine Amerika  who survived the incident.

HAPPIER TIMES: The late Phoenix Paul Junior Amerika (right) and his brother Eugine Amerika who survived the incident.

A tragedy at Mulinu’u on Boxing Day claimed the lives of three people.

Contrary to conflicting reports about the number of people who died, Police Media Officer, Maotaoalii Kaioneta Kitiona, confirmed the deceased people yesterday.

Among them were: 

• A 32-year-old mother 

• A 30-year-old male

• A seven-year-old boy 

Another five-year-old boy could have been the fourth victim had it not been for the quick thinking and brave efforts of a Police officer.

 “The current was too strong because the tide was getting high and the children couldn’t battle the strong currents,” Maota said. 

The incident happened around 5:30pm on 26 December 2015.

Four police officers were involved in the rescue operation and all four were admitted to the hospital that evening. They are still recovering.

Constable Alesana Ieremia was the first to arrive at the scene. He contacted the Fire Service and Police Office for help but he did not wait for them to arrive. 

Maotaoali’i said hailed the bravery of the Police officers and the work of the Fire and Emergency Services Authority for rescuing the second child.

In the meantime, he has issued another warning to parents to be extra alert about their children in the water.

The Police officer said that when the weather is bad, parents should stop children from swimming. He said the incident at Mulinu’u was another reminder of how quickly things can change.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer on Monday, the father of the deceased boy, Paul Amerika Snr, said he was still coming to terms with what had happened.

Mr. Amerika was grateful to Police Officer Ieremia for saving his other son.

According to the father, Officer Ieremia was out on police patrol and came across the incident.  

He called in the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (F.E.S.A) but did not wait for them to arrive as he raced straight in to help. 

At the Police station yesterday, other officers praised the brave work by Ieremia.

According to Mr. Amerika, his two sons stay with him at Vaitele. 

He said their mother had asked him if she could spend some time with them on Friday. 

When he dropped them off that was the last time he would see them.

“I only found out on Sunday morning from my parents house at Nofoali’i about what had happened,” he said through his tears.

Mr. Amerika said it would take some time for him to recover from what has happened.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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