Editorial comment – Nabou accident

(l-r) DAVEND and ANJILA SHARMA at their home in Malolo, Nadi. The couple were involved in the Nabou accident last Saturday. Picture: REPEKA NASIKO/FILE

NABOU accident survivors Daven and Anjila Sharma were yesterday still counting their lucky stars.
They were at their Malolo home in Nadi recovering from their injuries. They said they were fortunate to walk out of the terrifying incident alive.
They were headed to Sigatoka when they came face to face with the horrific scenes of blood and death.
The memories, they said, would remain with them for the rest of their lives. They could not sleep well that night.
Thoughts of the young lives lost on our national highway at Nabou kept them awake. It affected them.
The incident, Mr Sharma said, was like watching a horror movie. He said everything happened so fast.
He remembers how a mini van carrying 13 people collided with a vegetable truck. The accident killed six people.
He watched in horror as the accident unfolded before him and at the end of it, was thankful he was alive with his wife.
As police investigations continue, Mr and Mrs Sharma will have to live with the memories of a day of horror.
On the other side of the divide, the family of two men, who died instantly in the accident, were still trying to get over the shock of seeing gruesome images of their loved ones on social media.
The viral images of the bloodied passengers and the dead were posted minutes after the accident.
The passengers of the mini van were on their way to Suva to cheer on their Ratu Navula College team that participated in the Powerade Super Deans Rugby Championship when the incident happened.
Shocking images left the family of Sanaila Ruitoka, 34, and Atilai ‘Rui’ Ruitoka, 23, questioning the morals of those who captured the photographs and posted them online.
The pair’s grieving uncle, Sakiasi Radivi, said he would not forget the image of Sanaila’s bloodied face and bruised body lying metres away from the mangled mini van.
The images caused more heartbreak for their family.
He said before he received any official news from the police, the family saw the viral images and comments online. “I heard there was an accident in Nabou and my daughter saw a picture posted up by someone,” he said. “When I saw them, it broke my heart.
“Sanaila’s face was covered in blood and just seeing him like that was heartbreaking.
“It concerns my family and I that we had to find out about Sanaila and Rui’s death on Facebook.”
He was saddened by the fact that people took pictures of the incident and shared them online.
Accidents happen because we allow them to.
Every year we engage in road safety campaigns, yet every year we continue to have road accidents.
What will it take for us to reduce this, or cut it off altogether?
We then conveniently shrug aside road safety issues until the next big accident.
Then there is the issue of pictures posted immediately on social media platforms in the wake of such horrific accidents, and who polices this. Sceptics will touch on the right to information, which cuts both ways.
There is also the issue of responsibility, and a couple of key words to consider from censorship, respect, to being humane and decent.

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