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Fiji Time: 3:13 PM on Sunday 20 April

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Tragic twist to trip

Repeka Nasiko
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"IKO lesu yani noqu lewa. Au na qai muri yani."("You go on ahead sweetheart. I will come later")

These were the final endearing words spoken by 28-year-old Pauliasi Canivalu to his partner of four years, Salanieta Urusila, before his body was discovered floating lifeless near a bridge at the Nadi Back Road on Monday afternoon.

Mr Canivalu had gone fishing with his partner and daughter but decided to swim from their fishing spot towards the bridge as they prepared to head back home.

"He told me he would come later, so we went ahead to the bridge to wait for him," said an emotional Ms Urusila.

The 21-year-old could not hold back tears while speaking to this newspaper yesterday after news of her fiancé's death broke.

Her sister Timaima Vanakitoga had also gone on the fishing trip.

"We saw how he was very affectionate towards Sala when we were swimming in the river," she said.

"He was hugging and kissing her and telling her how much he loved her."

Ms Vanakitoga said when it was time for the group to head back home, Pauliasi wanted to stay back and swim towards the bridge where he would meet the group later. Sala told us what he was going to do, so she went ahead and waited for him at the bridge.

"She was there when one of our cousins called out to us and told us, he had found Pauliasi's body.

"We tried everything we could to resuscitate him but we just saw blood coming out of his mouth."

The national drowning death toll now stands at four compared with one for the same period last year.