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Governor expresses condolences to families of electrocution victims

A look at the Manu’a’s Store compound after three employees of the store passed away from their injuries during an electrocution accident that happened on site. Seen here are banners and flowers in honor of the three Manu’a’s Store employees, Iosefa Elia, Saito Paulo and Toese “Masta Tee” Ume. The area is still cordoned off, but DPS is no longer present at the site. The lawn has been mown since the accident.  [Photo: JL]

Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has called on the Workmen’s Compensation officials to assist the families of the six men who were injured as a result of the electrocution accident that occurred two weeks ago at the Manu’a’s Store, in the Senator Inouye Industrial Park. “The incident is not lost on the government and we would like to lend assistance to the men injured and the families of those who lost their lives in this unfortunate incident,” the governor told Samoa News.

The governor also expressed his deepest condolences to the mourning families.

Responding to Samoa News questions, the governor said that he held a meeting with the officials of Workmen’s Comp on Monday afternoon (Jan. 23rd), as to what the government can do to help the families involved.

Lolo said the Workmen’s Comp has been waiting on the company or companies, and insurance involved to file the appropriate documents so they can work on these cases.

“They are well aware of what needs to be at the office, and they were ready to assist the parties involved,” said Lolo. He further noted that during the meeting he was informed that the Manu’a/ Tutuila store and the family have lent a helping hand to their employees, who were affected, through financial assistance.

The governor said he also met with Department of Public Safety Acting Commissioner, Le’i Sonny Thompson and Acting Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale regarding the investigation, as he wants to get to the bottom of this unfortunate incident.

“We are now on the verge of waiting for the completion of the investigation by the Police to determine as to what is the next step,” he said.

Le’i had told Samoa News that a total of six people were injured, with three dying as a result of their injuries, Iosefa Elia, Saito Paulo and Toese “Masta Tee” Ume. He said the investigation was on going and was unwilling to comment further.

Responding to Samoa News inquiries, late Thursday afternoon, last week, 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 via email from San Francisco. “It is an open case now and we cannot provide any further information at this time.”

Samoa News understands OSHA Investigator, Tama Satele is currently on island and is working on this case. However, efforts to get comments from him have been unsuccessful as of press time.