Fiji Time: 5:38 PM on Saturday 2 July

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 0.63070.6117
JPY 51.031748.0317
GBP 0.36550.3575
EUR 0.43960.4276
NZD 0.69010.6571
AUD 0.65750.6325
USD 0.48980.4728

from

$0.00

Exchange Rate updated on 1st July 2016

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Fiji ready
  2. Dakuwaqa fights for sevens spot
  3. Average of 10 people missing every week
  4. Super Rugby: Attempts made to beat ticketing system
  5. Ratu Kinijoji laid to rest
  6. $150k for runway
  7. AFL to identify airport location
  8. Nath clears air on Bill translation
  9. $1.4m dividend for State
  10. Cultural exchange

Top Stories this Week

  1. Prayer for a spouse Thursday (30 Jun)
  2. Early morning catch wows crowd at Labasa fish market Tuesday (28 Jun)
  3. Home on a mission Wednesday (29 Jun)
  4. Hayne jets out Friday (01 Jul)
  5. Monster fish halts traffic Wednesday (29 Jun)
  6. Body parts Tuesday (28 Jun)
  7. INTERPOL assists with Natadola gruesome discovery, missing couple Monday (27 Jun)
  8. Nowhere to turn to Wednesday (29 Jun)
  9. Chief for a day Friday (01 Jul)
  10. A blessing in disguise Monday (27 Jun)