Family grieving after fatal fishing incident

A family from Asaga, Savai'i is still trying to come to grips with the sudden loss of a beloved son, brother, husband and father who apparently died being attacked by a swordfish while fishing. 

The father-of-two has been identified as Vaveao Ioane, a 23-year-old from Asaga. 

His sudden passing in the early new year has left his wife, young children, parents and siblings in disbelief and brokenhearted. 

"Our family is still in shock and still cannot accept that our brother is gone," the eldest sister of the deceased, Ruta Ioane, told the Samoa Observer. 

"We did not think we would have to deal with pain so hard to swallow in the beginning of 2021; however, nothing we do can change what happened."

Funeral plans for the deceased are being delayed as an investigation continues into Mr. Ioane's cause of death. 

The Samoa Observer has this week sought to contact the Police Commissioner, Fuiavailili Egon Keil, about the status of official inquiries into the incident but they have not been returned this week. 

But Ms. Ioane said she was not at their family home when the unfortunate incident occurred. 

"I was not here the morning my brother got hurt and died," Ms Ioane told the Samoa Observer. 

"What I have been told is that he went fishing with one of our boy cousins. They both went their separate ways as usual when they got to the sea. 

"Our cousin said, he knew something was wrong when our brother turned on his flashlight towards [...our cousin…] trying to signal for some help. 

"Our cousin ran towards where our brother was and found out that his chest was badly injured after he was attacked by something."

The cousin of the deceased then carried the body of Mr. Ioane, closer to the shore, said Ms. Ioane. 

"Our cousin then ran to our house and called for help. My parents and sister-in-law rushed to the shore and a canoe was used to bring his body to shore,” she said. 

"According to our brother and mother who took Vaveao to the hospital, he was still alive when he was brought to the hospital. He had a pulse but he was unconscious.

"Our brother was [pronounced] dead not long after."

The deceased’s parents are Fili and Lualua Faileaso; he is the second of their eight children. 

He is survived by his parents, his wife and two children, the youngest of whom is only two months old. 

The deceased formerly worked at a coconut company at Puapua. 

His sister remembers him as an obedient son to their parents, a respectful brother to his sisters, a loving husband and caring father to his two children.

"My late brother and I had our differences. We did not have the same opinions on so many issues within our family,” she said. 

"He had a temper and he was someone who gets angry easily and you would not want to argue with him when he's angry. 

"[But] he was a hard-working brother, especially when he started his own family. He worked hard to provide for his wife and children. 

"We still cannot believe that he is gone. We are still trying to accept the fact that he is no longer here, but we will keep praying for God's love and comfort to be upon us all, especially our dear parents, his wife and children."

A 2017 report by the Journal of Neurosurgery found that: "Swordfish attacks on humans are uncommon, with only a few case reports available in the current [medical] literature."

Two separate reports in the international media in 2015 recorded cases of fishermen dying after being speared by swordfish in attacks in Malaysia and the American state of Hawai'i. 



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?