THE parents of a three-year-old girl still cannot believe their youngest daughter has died, a victim of drowning.
Makelesi Romulo drowned in the Wainitogoru River in Navua on Thursday while swimming with her four siblings.
Mum Seini, 42, said Makelesi was dead by the time her husband, Semisi, a retired firefighter, rushed to the scene.
She said her husband was talking to his uncle on the phone when he heard their eldest daughter shouting for help.
"By the time my husband and I ran to the river to see what happened, we saw the body of my little daughter floating in chest-deep water," Mrs Romulo said.
"My husband knew life-saving techniques but could not save our little angel.
"She was our girl, one who was caring, lively and brought happiness to our family."
Mrs Romulo said her daughter was the lucky charm of the family and would always remain in their hearts.
"Every Sunday she would be the first to get up and get ready for church. She used to talk, shout and jump around the house."
Mrs Romulo said even though Makalesi was no more, she was at peace knowing her daughter was safe in the arms of God.
"It is sad to lose my daughter, but I am happy that she now rests with God who will take good care of her.
"I pray to God to keep my daughter well and to give strength to my family so that we can be strong."
Mrs Romulo said they were awaiting the police to conduct a post mortem examination before the family could carry out the final rites.
Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said the post mortem examination would be conducted soon.
In another incident, a 46-year-old farmer drowned while swimming in the Dreketi River on Thursday.
Ms Naisoro said the deceased was playing with his daughter and a friend by the river bank just before he drowned.
She said with only a few days remaining in 2012, it was unfortunate to record more drowning cases despite the number of advisories being issued.
"People must be more alert and cautious and never take situations for granted," she said.
The national drowning death toll now stands at 70 compared to 43 for the same period last year.