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Fishing trip turns tragic

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Thursday, June 05, 2014

ON many occasions Mela Cinakarawa, Rusila Vakasere and Taraivosa Toka would go fishing and return together in the evenings.

Nothing complicated, just trips to the sea to catch fish for the family table.

But their trip on Tuesday was described by Mrs Vakasere and Mrs Cinakarawa as unusual because despite urging her several times to return with them, Mrs Toka wanted to continue fishing.

This was the last fishing trip the three friends from Tutaleva Settlement near Laucala Bay would make together, as the body of 66-year-old Toka was discovered along the Nasese waterfront yesterday morning.

"It is a sad day for both of us," Ms Vakasere said.

"We still could not believe it would end this way because we have been on so many fishing trips and always returned together.

"This is why we regretted taking her on this trip because we didn't know it was going to be the last."

As they were about to leave around 9pm on Tuesday night, she said, they called out to her one more time but when she failed to respond. They thought that she had gone home ahead of them.

"So we went home last (Tuesday) night and early this (Wednesday) morning I went down to her place but her niece said that she had not returned.

"I went straight to Mela and we decided to go back to the place we were fishing at, but when we arrived there we saw policemen taking away a body in a body bag and we knew straight away it was her.

"We will miss her dearly."

She said the late Mrs Toka was humble and known in the settlement as a lady with a big heart who cared for everyone.

In an earlier statement released by police, spokesman Atunaisa Sokomuri said the deceased went fishing with two other women from the same settlement.

"The two women left and waited for her at the seawall when she wanted to continue fishing," Mr Sokomuri said.

"Upon realising she was missing, they thought she has returned home. They didn't realise that she was still at sea until this morning."

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