Toddler drowns

Grandmother, Kelera Baleivatu holds the picture of her granddaughter, Atelaite Rabale who drowned at a creek at Sawani village, Naitasiri on Friday.Picture:ATU RASEA

LEPANI KADI, the grandfather of a toddler, who drowned on Friday afternoon, said he had a feeling that his granddaughter, Atelaite Rabale, 2, had gone to the river when he received the news that she was missing from home.

Mr Kadi said he was on his way to his home from work when he was advised that villagers of Sawani had been looking for his granddaughter the whole afternoon. The body of his granddaughter was discovered yesterday morning by a Sawani villager.

The victim’s grandmother Kelera Baleivatu said her granddaughter disappeared after she instructed her to go to the bathroom. She said a village elder had seen her granddaughter minutes after she disappeared with their dog.

“We were cleaning our compound and she was so fond of helping me with our housework, but what happened yesterday (Friday) was so sudden and we are still in a state of shock,” Mrs Baleivatu said.

“She was never allowed to go around the village and yesterday when she went missing, we thought that she was somewhere close, but our search was all in vain as we could not find her.

“My granddaughter has been residing with us from January and this is one thing that we’ve always asked her to do and that is to keep away from the river, but we had no idea her life would end this way. It is a very unfortunate and sudden incident and we are still in a state of shock as it all happened within minutes.”

Mrs Baleivatu described her grandadughter as a cheerful and easy-going child.

Police have confirmed that a post-mortem examination would be conducted to ascertain the cause of death as investigations continue.

More Stories