Nabou accident: Wedding ring returned to crash victim’s wife

Vilimaina Tabua (right), Sanaila Ruitoka’s wife, with their eldest daughter Asinate Tuvou, holds her husband’s wedding band, while her husband’s aunt, Iva Naimocegusu, shows the returned phone at their home in Yavusania Village, Nadi. The items belonged to the road accident victims Atilai Ruitoka Pareti and Sanaila Ruitoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

VILIMAINA Tabua thought she had lost the only link to her late husband Sanaila Ruitoka — the wedding band she had placed on his finger about three years ago.

She thought the ring had gone missing when they retrieved his body from the mangled wreckage of a minibus involved in the fatal accident at Nabou between Nadi and Sigatoka.

Mr Ruitoka, along with five others, died on the Queens Rd after a three-vehicle accident on Saturday morning.

“I thought it was gone forever. Losing him was bad enough and while I have our children, the ring was a symbol of our love and it just broke my heart when I thought I would never see it again,” she said.

Unbeknownst to Mrs Tabua, a relative who had identified Mr Ruitoka’s body at the Nadi Hospital, had taken the ring for safekeeping.

It was returned to her by the relative on Sunday.

“I am so thankful that Sana’s wedding ring has been returned. It is something I will always treasure and share with my three daughters. There are so many things I want to share with them about their father and I will do it when they grow up.”

Ms Tabua said police had contacted her about the return of other personal belongings.

Iva Naimocegusu, an aunt of the two cousins, Mr Ruitoka and Atilai Ruitoka Pareti who also died in Saturday’s tragic accident, said the return of her nephew’s mobile phone was a sign of respect towards their grieving family.

Youths from Nakavu Village who helped in the removal of bodies from the wreckage returned Mr Pareti’s mobile phone to the family on Sunday afternoon.

Ms Naimocegusu said that despite so many social media posts that items had been stolen from the deceased, they were thankful that two valuable items have been returned to them — Mr Ruitoka’s wedding ring and Mr Pareti’s phone.

Meanwhile, Pastor Nemani Bukayawa Bulitavu, the father of Tomasi Bulitavu, the minibus driver, said apart from missing cash, the only items returned to his family by police were his son’s mobile phone and ambulance driver’s licence card.

“Tomasi’s wife said that he had $400 that morning before he left, the income he was supposed to give the minibus owner,” Pastor Bulitavu said.

“We don’t know what happened to the money.

“I reminded everyone about the importance of working with a clean heart and being true in everything they do.”

Mr Ruitoka’s funeral service will be held on Thursday before he will be laid to rest at his mother’s village in Moala, Nadi.