THE parents of 16-year-old Russell Simpson Rokara Taloga returned to their home at Valelevu in Nasinu from a weekend trip to Navua without their son who drowned while swimming in the Nakavu River on Sunday.
Jolame Smith, 37, said he could still recount the incident that occurred on Sunday afternoon and said it was Russell's first trip to Nakavu Village in Navua.
"We went down on Sunday for a feast and Russell and his cousins wanted to go swimming so they said they would take the lead but I told them to go after they had lunch," Mr Smith said.
"When it happened, I was there. He could not keep up with the current because it kept on changing and when he tried to swim across to where I was, it was too strong, so he decided to turn back and that's when he got caught in the current.
"I immediately started looking for bamboo so that I could help him but there was none. I was about 30 metres away and the boys that were swimming with him were about 15 metres away but they were still too late. We searched the river but we could not find him, until today (yesterday) when we were told that he was found a few villages down, near Raiwaqa settlement."
Mr Smith said Russell, who was a Year 11 student at Yat Sen School in Suva, was an energetic, caring and smart boy who had participated in various sporting activities.
Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said a post-mortem examination would be conducted to determine the cause of death as investigations continue. The drowning death toll currently stands at one compared with three for the same period last year.