19 March, 2021 Apia Samoa.
Published 10pm Fri 19 March 2021. Updated 9.30pm Sat 20 March 2021.
A 16 year old student from St Joseph’s College died on Friday afternoon when according to his uncle Ulugia David Paono, he took a hard fall on the concrete floor during a sack race held inside the school hall.
However, the school has issued a statement, the school principal Br Afaese Afaese stating David had already completed his part of the sack race, when he collapsed.
“St Joseph’s College is deeply saddened by the passing away of one of its students on Friday 19th March 2021;
“The incident happened during fun games to commemorate the feast day of the College’s namesake, Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The student had completed his part of the sack race when he collapsed,” reads the statement.
The school event was the Celebration of St Joseph the Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary – a day remembered annually at the school.
The student’s uncle, Ulugia has taken to social media with his frustrations about the incident.
He told Samoa Global News their whole family are devastated with the tragic news, especially if the death of his nephew, his sister’s son, could have been avoided.
“My nephew took a hard fall onto the concrete floor, and he hit his jaw.. his mouth was bleeding,” said Ulugia.
This is not, however, what happened, according to the statement from the school.
The boy’s uncle and namesake said students should not have been allowed to play on the hard surface of the school hall.
Ulugia said as an ex-student of St Joseph’s College, never in their time did teachers allow them to play inside the hall.
“In all my time there, we never held any kind of games in the hall.. ” he said.
Ulugia shared that when he visited his sister at Puipaa, he could not bear to see her so heartbroken.
“She is not doing well. She has not spoken a word, but just sits there crying”, he said.
Contacted for a comment, the Commissioner of Fire and Emergency Services Authority Tanuvasa Petone Mauga says they were called at 12:23pm.
“The caller was in a panic and our team had to establish the right information for an effective response..
“We dispatched from Tuanaimato at 12:26pm and arrived at St Joseph’s College at 12:32pm, well within the KPIs for a call-out to that distance,” said Tanuvasa.
Th statement from St Joseph’s College states teachers had administered first aid at the scene, but were not successful.
Brother Afaese added that counseling is available to help students cope with the loss.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the grieving mom, parents and family; as well as the school principal, teachers and students of St Joseph’s College.