The death of Peni Tavoti, 73, has left his family in Navua mourning his sudden loss.
The body of Mr Tavoti of Nakavu Village was recovered from the Navua River yesterday morning.
On Monday, he had told his wife, Miliakere Tabuinasei, and the family that he was going to have a swim in the Navua River. By 3pm, the family noticed that he still had not returned.
An emotional Ms Tabuinasei, 74, of Nakorosule, Naitasiri, said: “At around 9am he told me he was going down to the river and I told him not to since he was sick. He said he would go and come back fast.”
Despite the repeated calls not to go, the late Mr Tavoti still insisted that he’d go out for a swim.
Ms Tabuinasei further said: “At around 3pm we realised that he was not at home.
“Some of the family members went to look for him and they found his towel and flip flops by the river bank.
“My son called the Police around 4pm. They arrived at around 8pm to do the search, but they couldn’t find him.”
Yesterday morning, a group of men from the village went searching again in the Navua River. They found the body of Mr Tavoti close to the river bank at around 9am.
Mr Tavoti’s son, Iosefo Butukavecena, revealed that the man who had found his father’s body said his father’s leg was caught between two stones in deep water.
“On Monday morning we talked and the way he spoke was different. I never dreamt that that would be the last time I would be talking to him,” Mr Butukavecena said.
Mrs Tabuinasei said she would miss her husband dearly.
“During Christmas and New Year he was happy because he was surrounded by his grandchildren and family members. We didn’t know that he would leave us soon,” she said.
“I will miss how he used to crack jokes and was always talkative. It was always known when he was home because he would always be making people laugh.
“I was lucky to have married a good man and we will miss him a lot.”
They got married in 1977.