A tragic incident unfolded in western Fiji’s Musket Cove when a 13-month-old toddler, Māhina Toki, drowned after falling from a catamaran named Kalamari. The incident occurred on Friday while her parents, Mark and Kiri Toki, were preparing dinner inside the boat.
According to a spokesperson for the Fiji police, the young girl was harnessed on the deck of the catamaran, engrossed in a movie, while her parents were busy in the galley. Upon their return, they were unable to locate their daughter. It is speculated that Māhina managed to free herself from the harness and fell overboard.
An immediate search operation was initiated, which ended in the heartbreaking discovery of the toddler’s body floating in the sea. Despite immediate attempts, the rescue team was unable to revive her.
A post on the crowd-funding platform Givealittle by Grace Palos revealed that Māhina was tethered to the boat and was watching a movie when she “worked free and found the water”. The post further stated, “By the time we could find her, it was too late.”
Māhina was remembered as a “beautiful, happy, smiling child who loved the water and life on the boat.” Her mother, Kiri, was quoted saying that her daughter had eyes that “looked into your soul from the day she was born”.
The grieving parents, Mark and Kiri, are now preparing to return to their home in Great Barrier Island, New Zealand. A fundraising campaign has been initiated to assist the family with the costs of flights home and funeral expenses, raising more than $18,000 so far.
The Fiji police are currently investigating the incident. The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has acknowledged the tragic event and is providing consular assistance to the family.