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River tragedy

Ropate Valemei
Sunday, October 07, 2012

A girl is being questioned by police following a drowning incident yesterday that claimed the life of a 17-year-old boy.

The family of Shaneel Shamal, who drowned at the Wainibuku River in Nakasi, was in shock after seeing his body at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva yesterday.

The girl was with the deceased at the time of the incident.

The deceased's grandfather, Govind Rao, told The Fiji Times at the Colonial War Memorial hospital, that Shaneel went to see his friends before breakfast yesterday but did not return home.

"He went to buy bread in the morning, and told me he would go to his friends.

"Before leaving at around 10am, he asked me to keep his piece of bread but he did not return to eat it," an emotional Mr Rao said.

"He told me 'nana (granddad) I'll go and come back quickly, you have your bread and keep mine'."

Mr Rao said he was shocked after receiving a call from the Nasinu Police to identify the body.

He said his grandson did not deserve to die young.

"He is a very good boy, very bright in school and very respectful," his grandfather said.

The deceased was the youngest of the two brothers, and lived with his parents and grandparents at their home in Makoi.

He was carrying a mobile phone which the police retrieved and used to contact his family. His parents were in town shopping at the time.

The deceased's father Bijay Kumar said he did not expect this to happen.

"He can do everything. He can paint, do carpentry, mechanic, everything. He was painting with his grandfather yesterday, and then today, he passed away," Mr Kumar said.

He said his son's death was painful for the whole family, as he was always good to everyone.

The deceased's mother was too distraught to speak, holding her son's pair of jeans close to her chest.

Fiji Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said the deceased was believed to have been swimming in the Wainibuku River beside Rups Big Bear and was swept away by strong currents.

A post mortem examination will be carried out to ascertain the cause of death.





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