People need to be warned about this “most treacherous and dangerous reef”

Dear Editor,

The ocean view from the deck of Litia Sini Beach Resort, Lalomanu, is one of my favourite in Samoa. 

The first time I visited it back in May 2012, I survived by miracle the vicious “rip current” of the reef channel that is just in front of the mentioned deck. 

I later learned that at least five people had drowned in that same channel in the previous years. That spot is a real trap for unaware snorkelling tourists. 

Despite the above, there was not even one sign warning the visitors in 2012, nobody from the resort bothered to warn me before I took to the sea, and no rescue whatsoever was available.

At the time, I recounted in details my near-death experience on the Samoa Observer and on the web site of the US National Oceanographic Atmospheric Agency (Google “NOAA+rip currents+survivor stories+international /Samoa”) with the aim to raise the awareness of the management of the resort and of the authorities about this danger. 

In the hope that no one would experience anything similar following my ordeal.

The few times I talked to the management of the resort and its staff I realized that they were not keen neither to recognize the problem nor to talk about it. They even tried to deny that there had been people drowned in front of their resort or pretended to not know.

Last year three warning signs were finally placed on the beach and in the water but they are either too small and far to be seen from the beach or located in useless locations of the beach. 

Meanwhile, sadly, another two tourists have lost their lives at the same channel: an Australian last year and a Japanese three months ago.

On visiting the resort on 13 August 2017, I found out that - probably following the recent death of the Japanese tourist – Litia Sini resort finally placed somebody acting as a kind of life guard - very young and not so well equipped, my first impression. 

No trace of any kayak or boat on the shore ready to be used for any emergency.

In September 2017, I had a chance to talk with somebody from the management of the resort Taufua, adjacent to Litia Sini resort: this lady promptly shared with me her observation that a person drowns almost every month in the “death channel” located in front of the deck of Litia Sini resort.

She added that last year there had been a training in life guarding in Lalomanu organized by an Australian institution but nobody from Litia Sini resort participated in it.

How many more people have to die before the Litia Sini resort realizes that they are located just in front of the most treacherous and dangerous reef channel of all Samoa and that their business is strictly dependent on the safety of their visitors? 

Gianluca Serra 


ED’S NOTE: The Samoa Observer had contacted Litia Sini Resort about this issue earlier this year. On the phone, we were assured by the Resort they are doing everything possible to warn people about the dangers of the reef channel there. But when the Samoa Observer visited the area, the Resort owner declined to be interviewed about the issue.

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