Monday, January 5, 2009
Warrior Star drowning at Bethells
This was the beach that Soony Fai drowned. It looks a beautiful beach, but the rip is lurking dangerously. In mid December, there was a double drowning near by. We go there often after a climb at the Sand dunes.
Girlfriend tells of watching Sonny Fai swept away
7:48PM Monday Jan 05, 2009
Sonny Fai's girlfriend has spoken of the pain of being unable to do anything to save him when he was caught in a rip yesterday.
"I was angry, I wanted to run in there and get him myself," Jenna Frost told reporters at Bethells Beach, west Auckland, where the rising rugby league star is presumed to have drowned late yesterday.
Ms Frost said Fai, 20, had joined her and some of his family members in the surf after going for a run ahead of the New Zealand Warriors' first scheduled training session today.
Some of the group had got into difficulties in the heavy surf and Fai had seen that his younger brother was in trouble.
"Sonny was just going to get his little brother who was in the rip, then they both ended up in the rip," Ms Frost said.
"Sonny told his brother to let go of his hand and he just did that and came back to shore and Sonny got stuck in the rip."
Fai's older sister, Lalelei, said Fai had swum out to their younger brother and a cousin, after the others had reached the safety of the shore.
"I have a younger brother and a younger cousin that are a bit too weak, they couldn't swim that hard so some of the bigger boys and Sonny jumped in to save them," Lalelei Fai said.
"I heard that they were all together, holding hands, but then somehow my younger brother drifted away from them and Sonny went back to get him."
Family always came first with Fai, she said.
Ms Frost said her boyfriend always put other people first, Ms Frost said.
"He's a really good guy, he has a good kind heart."
Shocked teammates search for Warriors star swept out to sea
6:16PM Monday Jan 05, 2009
by Marvin France and wires
Warriors officials John Hart and Don Mann look on as sister Lalelei Fai and Sonny's girlfriend Jenna Frost console each other at Bethells Beach. es
The Warriors team manager has spoken of his side's "shock and disbelief" at the likely drowning of star centre Sonny Fai.
The 20-year-old is presumed drowned after trying to help save his younger brother who got into difficulty swimming at west Auckland's Bethells Beach last night.
Mr Mann said the Warriors players, who were supposed to begin 2009 training today, would continue in the search for Fai.
"Even now, there is just a sense of shock and disbelief. Everyone's thoughts at the moment are to find Sonny and get him to his family. He has a large family in south Auckland and we'll just have to cross the next bridge when we come to it," he told NZPA.
"We'll be out there again first thing in the morning, working around the tides, with police and lifeguards and we've organised the helicopter again," Mr Mann said.
Mann and Warriors manager John Hart visited the Fai family this morning.
The NRL has offered grief counselling services for Fai's staff as well as teammates and Warriors staff.