Samoan Father Dies Attempting to Save his Children at New Man-Made Beach in Sydney

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Seti Tuaopepe was an environmental scientist living in New South Wales, Australia. Photo credit: Facebook / Supplied

A “dedicated father and husband” who died at a new man-made Sydney beach on Boxing Day was trying to save his children, his friends say.

Father-of-five Seti Tuaopepe, 35, failed to resurface at the inland beach, which only opened the week before.

Emergency services were called but Tuaopepe, who had been paddleboarding, couldn’t be saved.

John Savill, who lives in Penrith, told the Daily Telegraph he talked with Tuaopepe soon before he disappeared into the water.

“He had his three kids, I think they were all around 10 years old, a year or two either side of that,” Savill said.

New beach in West Sydney

“None of them could swim and the kids started panicking and pushing him under.

“By the time I got there we got all three kids onto the paddle board and he was less than a metre away from me and then a second later he had disappeared.”

Savill said he handed the children to his father-in-law who took them to shore before looking for Tuaopepe with a dozen more beachgoers.

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A GoFundMe has now been set up by a family member Taylah Lagaaia from Mount Druitt to support his wife Mina and their five children during the “incredibly tough time”.

“Seti Tuaopepe unfortunately lost his life while at Penrith Beach trying to save his kids. His kids meant the world to him, and he cherished the life they had together,” the fundraiser reads.

 

The 35-year-old was described as a “dedicated husband and father” who sacrificed everything for his family.

“In addition to having ambitious goals for his family and a deep faith in the Lord, he worked extremely hard to see these through,” the GoFundMe says.

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Seti Tuaopepe’s body was later found.

Located just a couple of kilometres from Penrith’s CBD, the new beach at Western Sydney Lakes was flagged as being easier for those in the area to get to, rather than paying multiple road tolls and trying to find parking at popular coastal spots including Bondi and Manly.

Tuaopepe was one of multiple who drowned in the state over the festive season.

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