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Baby survives ordeal in esky

Serafina Silaitoga
Monday, February 29, 2016

EIGHT-month-old Waseroma Rasavou survived 14 hours in an esky cooler as strong winds battered the village of Nasaisaivua in Kubulau, Bua.

And as Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston damaged 19 properties including two church buildings and a hall, Waseroma lay soundly safe in the esky, covered with only a T-shirt and the esky lid above his head, keeping him away from the rain and strong winds.

When his dad Waisake Bukaroro saw the house shaking, he told his wife Mereani Mailekutu to take the two older children to the village hall while he prepared the esky.

At 4:25pm, he said he put baby into the esky, closed it and ran towards the village hall to join the other villagers who were taking shelter there.

But when they were about five metres away from the hall, the structure dropped before them and the other villagers ran out.

In this instance, he panicked with fright, caught in a dilemma to choose between saving his baby first or run towards the damaged hall to bring his wife and other two children.

Mr Bukaroro said it was a difficult moment but the love for his son forced him to take shelter at a roofless bathroom — about 20 metres away from the destructed hall.

He said when they got to the bathroom which was big enough for four people, the villagers were all crammed up in the only safe haven at that time.

He carried the esky through the overcrowded room and stood among the villagers carrying the cooler until daybreak on Sunday.

Throughout the night, he kept opening the esky lid to see if his son was breathing.

He added his baby did not cry but slept under heavy rain and strong wind conditions.

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