Fiji Time: 2:31 AM on Sunday 24 September

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / News

Diver tells of tragedy

Repeka Nasiko
Monday, February 17, 2014

PARALYSIS through the use of underwater breathing apparatus (UBA) is a stark reality for villagers of Naviti District in Yasawa.

One such victim is Aisake Vucunivavalagi, a 34-year-old Malevu villager who met his fate in 1999.

The Fiji Times met with Mr Vucunivavalagi during a recent trip to the Yasawas. The Malevu villager was sitting on the doorstep of his home when he was approached to reveal the struggles he has faced over the past 15 years.

"I came up too fast," said Mr Vucunivavalagi.

"I was on a diving trip with three others and was underwater for about 20 minutes.

"I had gone about 30 or 40 metres underwater and had a good haul that day."

He said with his sack full of beche-de-mer, he decided to resurface.

"When I was heading back to the boat, I could feel a tingling sensation in my back.

"It was then that I knew something was wrong, so I kept going and nearing the top, I blacked out."

The diver recalls being pulled onto the fishing boat and frantic hands moving his unconscious body to safety.

"When I woke up I felt a pain I had never felt in my whole life. I could not feel my legs."

He said after being airlifted to Lautoka Hospital and then to CWM Hospital, the realisation that he would not be able to walk again slowly sank in.

"It was hard. I had to come to terms with that idea but I did not want to accept it."

He said after struggling with rehabilitation, he started to walk again less than a year later.

But Mr Vucunivavalagi's silver lining did not last long. "In 2004, I slipped while coming back from planting cassava. I lost all feeling in my legs again.

"I think it was the same nerve that I had damaged during the dive. Since then I haven't been able to walk.

"We have been struggling because now my wife is the only one left to fend for the family."








Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Westpac
Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.61690.5979
JPY 56.853253.8532
GBP 0.36700.3590
EUR 0.41880.4068
NZD 0.69110.6581
AUD 0.63360.6086
USD 0.50190.4849

from

$0.00

Exchange Rate updated on 22nd, August, 2017

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. A sad graduation for Waqatakirewa
  2. A-G: Pay overtime
  3. Mine land claim
  4. Leaders disagree
  5. Sedition accused guilty
  6. iTaukei women told to be proud of their identity
  7. Velovelo residents could become permanent leaseholders
  8. Union berates State
  9. 'Keep Diwali sacred'
  10. Families resort to muddy water

Top Stories this Week

  1. A sad graduation for Waqatakirewa Saturday (23 Sep)
  2. The fee to kill Tuesday (19 Sep)
  3. $16k dream holiday Monday (18 Sep)
  4. Mysteries of the floating island Wednesday (20 Sep)
  5. Head teacher in court for sexual assault Monday (18 Sep)
  6. Pay rise deal Wednesday (20 Sep)
  7. Man freed from prison Tuesday (19 Sep)
  8. Resort's legacy Thursday (21 Sep)
  9. Murder suspects further remanded Monday (18 Sep)
  10. Planned water disruption advisory for Suva Wednesday (20 Sep)