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Saved from death

Shayal Devi
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

TWO tourists who were guests at a resort on the Coral Coast have found that heroes with supernatural abilities can be found in Fiji.

This after an activities attendant from the Outrigger on the Lagoon dived in to rescue them when their kayak capsized in huge waves close to a reef.

Jonacani Masi was on duty at the resort beach when he noticed two guests from a neighbouring hotel paddling towards the reef.

"I kept watching them because they were too close to the reef and I was wondering what they were up to," he said.

A few seconds later, he saw the kayak flip. Mr Masi called a colleague to take over from his bay watch duties, grabbed a lifesaving tube and swam out to the reef.

"I knew they were in trouble.

"I didn't think about myself or hesitate for a second."

When Mr Masi reached the kayak, he found an uninjured boy.

He then instructed the boy to hold on to the kayak while he went and searched for the second paddler, the child's father, Stephan.

Mr Masi said 12-foot waves were pounding on the reef and this prevented him from swimming past the breakers. "I called out Stephan's name but I didn't get a response. I managed to swim out past the breakers and I was in the water for a good 15 minutes swimming around and calling out his name."

He eventually saw Stephan holding on to a paddle.

"He could barely put his head up. He said his left leg was injured and it looked like deep coral grazes from the reef. He said his chest and head were OK but then he started vomiting blood. He must have swallowed a lot of sea water.

"I had a life jacket on and strapped Stephan to my back using a life-saving tube. With an injured leg, Stephan was unable to swim so I asked him to kick with one leg."

They were dragged toward the reef when he tried to swim through an opening. By then, two other Outrigger staff members arrived to help.

Father and son were rushed to the Sigatoka District Hospital where they were treated.

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