Samoan worker in Australia drowns

A 23-year-old Samoan male seasonal worker employed in the Australian state of Victoria died shortly before the new year in a case local Police are treating as a suspected drowning, according to the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Labour, Lautafi Selafi Purcell.

The Minister confirmed the death of the man from the village of Sa'anapu.

“Police in Australia are continuing their investigation into the matter,” Lautafi told the Samoa Observer during an interview. 

“The reports we [have] received is that the deceased had gone with his relatives [in Australia] and other workers out for swim in one of the rivers in Victoria. 

“They were about to head back home when he dived back in the water and that was when they could not locate him until Police found him the day after that.”

Lautafi said the deadly event happened on December 29 but a spokeswoman for Victoria Police was not able to locate details of the event based on the date provided. 

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour are  working with authorities in Australia to process the paper works to bring back the body of the deceased. 

He said when the Ministry contacted the family of the deceased about what had happened, they had already learned about it through their relatives who had gone with the 23-year-old.

It was not possible to get a comment from the family of the deceased. 

Lautafi said the incident was unfortunate.

There are currently about 700 seasonal workers from Samoa in Australia as part of the country's Seasonal Worker Programme. 

Workers are engaged on contracts of between three years and three months' duration.  

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