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Passengers of the Fagaloa bus crash pay tribute to their late driver

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 21 MARCH 2023: Several passengers of the bus that crashed at Fagaloa two weeks ago are mourning the death of bus driver Luafalealo Tony Leniu in the weekend.

Luafelalo was one of the three people who were critically injured when the bus crashed against the mountainside.

The passengers took to social media to pay tribute and express gratitude to Luafalealo whom they praised for saving many lives. They believe that the late driver swerved the bus towards the mountainside to stop it from ditching into a deep ravine on the opposite side.

Luafalealo of Lauli’i village was a businessman who operated the Tuisamau Transport Bus company and had served as a bus driver for more than 30 years.

According to some of the passengers’ testimonies, they owe their lives to Luafalealo who sacrificed his own to protect and save the passengers.

They believed the driver knew the moment the bus breaks failed and that he could not avoid what was about to happen, then swerved the bus towards the mountain side.

Luafalealo is the only death from the accident but more lives could have been lost if the bus ran into a deep ravine on the opposite side.

Palolo Feao Muliaga’s message on social media said the Government should consider Luafealo’s brave action that saved many lives.

“Thank you so much for your long service, the Government should consider you saved a lot of lives,” said Palolo.

Fiava’e Selesele reminded other of Luafalealo’s attitude every morning during his rounds who always greeted every one with a smile.

Those who knew the bus driver spoke highly of him and his service.

Mikaele Asafo of Vaitele used to reside at Fagalii and worked at Yazaki Samoa. He and his friends had little money, and Luafalealo allowed them to travel on credit and pay what they owe to the late driver on their payday.

On the day of the incident, a doctor expressed sympathy after learning of the drivers’ actions to save the passengers.