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Man saves nephew from barracuda attack

Year 1934

Read by Catherine Pallesen – Supporter, Royal Humane Society

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Jone Draunimasi, Fiji.

On 22nd March, 1934, Jone Draunimasi, his nephew Williame Uate, and two other Fijians set out in a punt to collect Trochas shell. On arrival at the reef, Williame, followed by Jone, jumped in and commenced their search for shells, but finding the current too strong, Jone decided they ought to return, and informed Williame accordingly. Williame then discovered two shells and was left diving for them whilst Jone continued his search en route for the reef. On one of his arrivals at the surface he was informed by one of the other natives that Williame was being attacked by a large barracuda. Jone turned and swam unarmed at once in that direction, and saw his nephew swerve past the fish, and then when about 3 fathoms away, saw him attacked again and seized by the arm, which was severed at the shoulder, tearing away part of the lung also. Jone thereupon dived, seized his nephew in his arms, and using his legs only swam for the reef, being followed by the fish. The other natives brought over the punt as quickly as possible, but Williame died in a few minutes.

The Governor of Fiji, in reporting the case, states that the natives fear the barracuda more than the shark, owing to its fierceness and directness and rapidity of its attack.

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