Samoa’s Fire and Emergency Services responded to a vehicle that made an unsuccessful attempt to cross the ford between Lotopa and Tulaele this afternoon, despite warnings issued by the Disaster Management Office and flood warnings by the Samoa Meteorological Services.
Acting Commissioner of the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) Tanuvasa Petone Mauga said the driver was already out of the vehicle by the time they and Police had arrived. He added that there had been no other passengers in the vehicle.
The incident was first reported by Sama Tavete Leiataua with a live video on social media, seen over 16k times and shared over 320 times.
“This is the first victim of the ford for 2021”, he says.
“O le fisi muamua lava lenā o le vai mo le 2021.. lea laa faaumi lava le live ina ia malie lava le kou makamaka..”
Sama’s video shows a strong flowing river over the ford, with the vehicle lodged within rocks, stopping it from being pulled downstream.
Samoa’s Disaster Management Office issued the following public warning:
“Crossing at this ford is prohibited for the time being as it is inaccessible and unsafe!”
“We hereby advise that the travelling public and pedestrians around this area should refrain from crossing this ford and use alternative routes”
“Please drive with extra care at alternative fords and routes, as we continue to observe persistent rainfall”.
The latest report issued by Samoa Met Services at 5pm Saturday 6 February continues to impose heavy rain, flood and marine warnings for Samoa.
“An area of extreme rainfall activities and gusty winds conditions remain persistent over Samoa since this morning due to an active convergence zone as analysed this afternoon. The aforementioned system is expected to maintain heavy rain and strong to gusty periods across the island by tonight through tomorrow”.