Everyone thankful no harm came to anyone yesterday
Captain of the Fealofani Samoa, Atuatasi “Jerry” Seigafo used the opportunity at the captains meeting held yesterday to thank the government of American Samoa and others who came to their rescue when their fautasi capsized out in the open waters yesterday morning, and he told those present, they are still "ready to race".
The highly anticipated race was cancelled yesterday after the Fealofani Samoa II capsized and the Matasaua took on water. Crew members were evacuated on to Lt. Governor Lemanu P. Mauga’s boat, which came to the rescue of the Matasaua crew.
At the captains meeting, held at the Office of Samoan Affairs at noon following the cancellation of the race, the Fautasi Committee yielded to the suggestion made by Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga and some of the Captains to hold the fautasi race on Saturday morning at 7a.m.
Some asked for the race to be held today, however the government leaders noted that Flag Day program events have been scheduled throughout the day, and any changes would cause problems, including a delay in the program.
Vaimasenu’u Zita Martel, skipper for Don Bosco 200 told the captains gathering that if the race was to be held on Friday (today) the Don Bosco would not race, as they are also participating in the pese and siva, which is part of their invitation to attend the Flag Day festivities. She said there is no way that half of the school would participate in the siva and pese with the other half out in the ocean for the fautasi race.
Senate President Gaoteote Palaie Tofau, skipper of the Fuao of Vatia, pointed out during the meeting that the Fautasi Committee contributed to the problems encountered yesterday, because they knew very well the tide was high, yet they kept on telling the captains to take the boats further out.
Skipper for Fealofani Samoa III, Atuatasi told Samoa News that they are very thankful that nothing tragic occurred and that his entire crew is accounted for — “ I am thankful to ASG and to those who helped us.”
Samoa News was on the “Sau Ia”, a boat owned by the Leala Peter Reid family, near the area where Fealofani Samoa III took on a lot of water and eventually capsized. The crew refused to abandon their boat, but many of them had to let go of their oars, which were eventually picked up by the police and others in the area.
Motusa Tuileama Nua, Matasaua’s skipper told Samoa News that this was an experience that he will never forget — “it was quite an experience.”
He told Samoa News that what happened was very disappointing, but they took on a lot of water when they were turning around. He was thankful for the Lt Governor, ASG and others who came to their aid and safely removed the crew from the fautasi.
The incident occurred when the fautasi were preparing for the race — turning around to position themselves in their designated lane. As the Fealofani and Matasaua encountered problems, the other seven boats headed back to the harbor.
An hour before the starting time, there were reports of fautasi in trouble, due to the high seas and choppy waters, with water pooling inside some fautasi.
KVZK-TV reported that the Pago Pago fautasi, the Aeto was the first to be affected by the high waves, but they turned around and were able to make it safely back to the harbor.
The “Sau Ia” which carried the KVZK-TV crew and a Samoa News reporter stayed at the scene to lend a helping hand to the Fealofani Samoa. Videos taken during the incident on the boat show the vessel ‘bouncing’ up and down due to choppy seas.
Around 9:12 a.m an announcement was made on the PA system at the Port Administration building that the race was not going to happen, and fautasi fans began to head away from the main dock. From the Samoa News building — located across the street from the main dock — at least two fautasi could be seen heading back into the main harbor, toward the Pago village harbor area.
Long before the race started, supporters of each fautasi team had already made their way into the downtown area, to get a good spot along the shoreline, especially between Utulei and Pago Pago in front of ASCO Motors, the finish line. Due to the race and the 2Samoas Trade Fair in Utulei, traffic was crawling for a few hours.
Samoa News would like to extend its thanks to the Leala Peter Reid family and its companies of G.H.C. Reid & Co. Ltd, Peter E. Reid Stevedoring, Samoa Motors, NAPA Samoa, and SLC Manufacturing (Vaimalu) for allowing Samoa News to cover the 2015 fagaimea i le tai.
See more photos of the incident on samoanews.com and our website will link you to a live stream for Saturday’s race of the 2015 Flag Day Faigamea i le Tai.
ONLINE POLL FOR FAUTASI RACE
Also, due to fautasi race being postponed until Saturday, Samoa News “People’s Choice” online poll has been re-opened for voting until Friday, April 17, 6p.m.
With over 1500 votes tallied at press time last night, Taema II of Leone has surged ahead with 24% of the votes. The no. 2 spot with 19% of the vote is Manulele Tausala I of Nu’uuli, and last week’s leader, Aeto from Pago Pago, in the #3 spot with 17%.
Winner of the People’s Choice online poll will win 10 cases of Taula beer, donated by Taula and Sama Beers, proudly distributed by Pacific Sales & Marketing, with a $100 cash donation from Samoa News.