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Afternoon swim turns tragic for eight-year-old

Repeka Nasiko
Tuesday, January 21, 2014

EIGHT-YEAR-OLD Ulaiasi Evo Rivalai was supposed to return to school today as a Year Two student.

But this won't be the case after he became the latest drowning statistic in Lautoka on Sunday afternoon.

The little boy had gone about midday to Kalacraft, Rifle Range, before he went missing.

Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said the young boy was with six older siblings before his untimely death.

"While swimming, the alarm was raised when the victim was discovered missing," Ms Naisoro said.

"After more than an hour, his body was discovered."

She said the children thought the young boy had gone into nearby bushes to relieve himself.

"It was someone who lived close by that saw him floating. They had done all they could to revive him but it was too late."

Ms Naisoro said Ulaiasi's death also highlighted the need to have the right people supervising children.

According to police, a 19-year-old was the eldest in the group.

"The main thing here is having the right person to look after young children when they are out swimming," she said.

"Whether you have a 19-year-old, or 21-year-old or a 30-year-old, these people should be able to look after younger children.

"They should be able to perform the necessary medical procedures if one person in the group drowns.

"There should be someone who is part of the group but can be physically able to help or save someone from drowning."

She said police would also be questioning the parents of the eight-year-old.

"Our investigations are continuing.

"Today (yesterday) we took all statements from all of those that were at the river swimming and we will also be speaking to the parents of the child."

Ms Naisoro again called on parents to be vigilant when monitoring their children.

This is the fifth drowning incident recorded this year compared to six for the same period last year.

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