"TAKE me to see my daughter."
These were the only words Anjani Deo said as police informed her that they had retrieved her 11-year-old daughter Samantha Deo's body from the Aralevu River in Tunalia, Nadi yesterday.
"I just want to see my daughter and bring her home," she said, overcome with emotion.
According to the distraught mother the 11-year-old had accompanied her father, 46-year-old Francis Deo, on a trip from Suva to see-off a family friend at the Nadi International Airport on Sunday.
After failing to return, the family raised the alarm.
Samantha's body was discovered inside the taxi about 11.30am yesterday while Mr Deo's body was found yesterday afternoon metres away from where his daughter's body was. The duo was scheduled to stop at relative Ashok Kumar's place in Nadi before returning to Suva.
Mr Kumar said he knew something was wrong when the two did not show up at his place on Sunday as promised.
"I called his wife in Suva and asked whether they had returned. When she said they hadn't, that was when we started to worry."
Mr Kumar said he had asked friends in surrounding villages to help the family look for the missing persons.
He said the deceased was survived by his wife and son.
Marisilina Nabeqa, a villager from Tunalia, was among the first to locate the sunken taxi. A post-mortem examination is scheduled for today.
Meanwhile, a tropical disturbance over the Fiji group is expected to bring heavy rain. As a result, members of the public are urged to exercise extra caution on the roads and not to attempt crossing waterways unnecessarily.