MEMBERS of the public have applauded the efforts of fire officers in Labasa for efficiently responding to calls and helping retrieve the body of 17-year-old Abdul Zohab from the Qawa River on Friday afternoon.
People crowded the Qawa River bridge as fire officers braved the flooded river to search for the body.
A passer-by, Mahen Singh, said the fire officers did not hesitate to jump into the river with their swimming gear.
"After a short while, they discovered the body," he said.
"They were very efficient and courageous and these are the kind of people we want because they carry out their duty diligently.
"I am really thankful to NFA for training their officers well in responding to emergency calls like this one," said Mr Singh.
Another passer-by, Peni Tiko, shared similar sentiments saying even though the officers didn't save the boy's life, they managed to recover his body.
National Fire Authority CEO John O'Connor said he was impressed with his officers in Labasa.
"The officers received a call at about 3.39pm and responded immediately," he said.
"It took them only 30 minutes to locate the body in the river.
"We are currently undertaking some new reforms in that officers are not only trained to efficiently respond to mere fire rescue calls but other emergency calls as well.
"Officers are also undertaking floodwater rescue trainings and other emergency courses such as responding to road accidents," said Mr O'Connor.
Police officers also helped NFA officers transport the body to the hospital.