In the blink of an eye

Eliki Duanacoko, 47, wishes he had the power to save his uncle, Ratu Masi Maikeli, who was swept away while trying to cross the flooded Tabutabu bridge in Nadelei, Tavua, on Friday night.

Mr Duanacoko and five others dived into the river in an attempt to rescue Ratu Masi from the swift-flowing floodwaters. He said several attempts to try and pull his uncle out proved futile.

“It was very difficult trying to get him out from the flooded river because the currents were just too strong.

Mr Duanacoko claims Ratu Masi could have slipped while trying to cross the flooded bridge.

He said they were all returning from Tavua Town when the tragic incident happened.

“We didn’t expect this to happen, it was just like the blink of an eye — one minute he was there and then he was gone. We had told him to wait for the water to recede but he didn’t want to listen, he just went ahead and tried to cross over to the other side.”

Mr Duanacoko said it was about 9pm when his uncle’s body was recovered. Ratu Maikeli is survived by his wife and five children.

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