Electrocution tragedy claims third life —Toese Ume

reporters@samoanews.com

While the US Department of Labor has opened an investigation into the industrial park electrocution that happened two weekends ago at Manu’a’s Store located in the Tafuna Industrial Park, the tragic incident has claimed a third life — the individual, who had been in a coma in the LBJ hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

Toese Ume of Futiga and a member of the local US Army Reserve, passed away around 3a.m. yesterday (Sunday) early morning, surrounded by his family, according to his mother, when contacted by Samoa News around 10a.m. yesterday.

Friends and family members of Ume took to social media yesterday with messages of condolence to his family.

Responding to Samoa News inquiries USDOL region spokesman Jose Carnevali said USDOL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is “well aware of this matter” in American Samoa.

“And in fact, the agency has started an investigation,” Carnevali said late Thursday afternoon via email from San Francisco. “It is an open case now and we cannot provide any further information at this time.”

Families, friends, Manu’a’s store employees and members of the local US Army Reserve rushed to the LBJ hospital last Thursday afternoon after hearing that Ume was getting weaker and joined in a prayer service at the hospital chapel.

Six employees were electrocuted on Jan. 14 and the first to die that same day was Iosefa Elia, while Saito Paulo and Ume were in a coma at the ICU. Paulo passed away last week Wednesday.

Samoa News understands that the fourth employee, who was in the Surgical Ward for treatment, was released last Thursday afternoon. The other two, comprising the six injured, were treated and released on the same day of the incident.

Unconfirmed reports two weekends ago from witnesses told Samoa News that a ladder fell on a live wire, while others have said the crane arm that was lifting the metal struts out of containers for the Manu’a’s store’s new warehouse/ building, located next door to the accident site, struck a high tension wire, which was close to where the containers are located.

Department of Public Safety has an ongoing investigation into the case.

Samoa News expresses its sincere condolences to the family of the three men, whose lives were taken in this tragic incident.

 

Samoa News reporters Ausage Fausia and Fili Sagapolutele contributed to this report.
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