Coroner investigates death of five men

The Coroner is investigating the death of five men in separate incidents this year, the circumstances of which have remains unknown. 

The inquest into the death of Fisofiso Naumalii of Luatuanuu, Mauli Kuresa Aiga of Satupaitea, and Ioelu Iefata of Saoluafata were heard in the Coronial Court last week. 

District Court Judge and Coroner, Judge Alalatoa Rosella Viane-Papalii also heard evidence into the death of Tolai Ioane, a 30-year-old from Lotofaga, and Falealili Saufoe of Salesatele. 

Three of the men are suspected to have died from drowning; two other men were found dead near their homes. 

Doctor Mayday Fanueli appeared before the Court and tendered a medical report. 

The five men died in separate incidents.  

In the case of the 21-year-old Naumalii, he had gone fishing with a younger relative in Luatuanuu but was later found floating at sea on 11 September. 

Similarly, Aiga of Satupaitea was last seen fishing before he was reportedly struck by strong waves on 13 September.

Iefata, a 20-year-old of Saoluafata also went fishing when he was found dead near the reef of Saoluafata in August.  

According to Dr. Fanueli, the Coroner’s report noted that the three men died from asphyxiation secondary to drowning. 

In the matter of Ioane from Lotofaga, his medical report noted that he had gone missing for a few days. 

The Coroner heard that his remains were not discovered until his family discovered them near the family home. 

His face was covered with maggots and a firearm was found near him. 

Lastly, in the matter of Saufoe of Salesatele, who died in August, the Coroner was told that the man was reportedly dead on arrival when he was brought in at the hospital. 

Dr. Fanueli said the deceased's medical record indicated that he was found dead in the house. 

The Coroner’s report noted that it was not satisfied with the cause of death recorded. 

The Coroner has yet to rule on the inquests. 

Attorney General’s Office lawyer, Peleuila Itula was the prosecutor for the matters.

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