Samatau family mourns loss of son at sea

A 23-year-man from Samatau, who was part of a fishing expedition last week, drowned at sea and was buried by his family on Wednesday.

Faaolataga Tuaoi Faaaliga Leituala left in the early hours of Wednesday, July 8 with some of his first cousins in what was his last fishing trip. 

The fishing trip turned into a tragedy the next morning, according to his mother Vitolina Tuaoi Leituala, as she awoke around 4am the next day to see his cousins carry his body up from the sea.

“He went fishing with my husband’s sister’s children and they said he suddenly drowned. I was sleeping through the night and I was startled early in the morning around 4am, when one of his cousins told me to come running because someone was hurt and he suspected it was Faaolataga,” she said in an interview with the Samoa Observer.

“When I got there, I discovered it was true, it was Faaolataga…his cousins carried him from the ocean and we took him to the hospital at Leulumoega but he was gone.”

His untimely death has shocked his family including his 10 siblings with Vitolina still unable to accept that he was gone, as his demeanour of being soft spoken had made a big impression on her. 

“Faaolataga, when I’d scold him, he never showed signs of disrespect, anger or stubbornness. He was always happy all the time. Even if he was upset with someone, he never showed it and did his chores happily,” she added. 

“He never answered back to me, he was such a good child and that is why it is so hard to forget him and his ways. Talking was not his strength, he was not a talkative person. When he took on a task, he always did things wholeheartedly. It’s so hard to forget my son.”

Faaolataga was an active churchgoer, who attended the Ekalesia Faapotopotoga Kerisiano Samoa Samatau. But it was the ocean that was his true love, as his mother said it was where he spent most of his time.

“But the ocean, it brought him joy, it was his life. For Faaolataga, his whole life was the ocean. That is how he made money. He didn’t enjoy plantation work and we really don’t know what happened,” she emphasised. 

“He left and never came back. We are fortunate that his cousin found him. We don’t know. We weren’t so sure if he caught anything because we weren’t paying attention to his catch. When the incident happened, we rushed him to the hospital but he was gone.”

Faaolataga was the eldest of 11 children comprising five boys and six girls of Vitolina and her husband Tuaoi Faaaliga Leituala.

When the Samoa Observer visited the family Thursday morning, they were going about their daily chores. A few family members, who wore memorial buttons on their attire with a photo of Faaolataga and his birth and death dates, were seated near his grave. 

“Forever in our Hearts,” the buttons read.

Faaolataga was born on 11 December, 1996.

Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?