Girl’s call saves six

Virisila Silivere with her 10-year-old daughter Nanise Talega who alerted her mum to save the passengers. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

When 10-year-old Nanise Talega saw the driver of a car walk testing the depth of the water across a flooded culvert, she sensed something would soon be amiss and called out to her mother, Virisila Silivere.

Her vigilance and concern may have saved the lives of the six people travelling in the vehicle after it was swept away by floodwaters in Seaqaqa, Vanua Levu last Friday.

Ms Talega was on the verandah of their Munir Rd house in Savulutu when she saw a white car approach a nearby flooded culvert and saw the driver get off and walk a short distance across the culvert.

Ms Silivere was inside the house when she was alerted by her daughter.

“She called me to come out and see a man walking across the flooded culvert, so I did,” Ms Silivere said.

“While standing with her on the verandah, we saw the driver get back into the car and drive through and then it got stuck.

“We watched in horror as it floated down towards some bushes and that’s when Nanise grabbed my hand and begged me to save the family.”

Ms Silivere said as she swam towards the partially submerged car, she could hear the driver screaming out for help.

She said a mother and her three sons, who were in the back seat were trembling with fear, the water had reached waist level and their cries for help filled the sinking car.

“It was raining heavily and the currents were getting strong but I was determined to save them. When I reached the car, only the two passengers in front were trying to get out.

“The mother and three sons in the back were scared and the boys were shaking, trembling and crying.

“I opened the door and got them out and sat them on top of the car. Then I took the mother in my right arm and the youngest son on my left and swam with them to the roadside.

“Then I swam back and took the two older boys, again, one on each arm and got them to safety and finally, I went back for the two men.”

Ms Silivere said she told the two to follow her through where the current was not so strong.

By the time they had been rescued, Ms Silivere saw other vehicles arriving on the other side of the culvert and she yelled out to the drivers not to cross the culvert.

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