NEW ZEALAND DEFENCE FORCE
TE OPE KAATUA O AOTEAROA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Fijian Soldier Dies In East Timor Vehicle Accident
At approximately 10.45 am yesterday a truck carrying Fijian soldiers from the 4th New Zealand Battalion Group left the
road 3 kilometres east of Taroman in East Timor. One soldier, Staff Sergeant Maika Rakabu was killed and 11 other Fijian
soldiers sustained a range of injuries.
Elements from the New Zealand Battalion and three helicopters from 3 Squadron, RNZAF assisted in a rapid and well
executed aeromedical evacuation of the injured to the Slovakian Field Surgical Team facility at Suai for immediate
treatment. One soldier with serious spinal injuries has been evacuated to Adelaide for specialist treatment
The Commanding Officer of the 4th New Zealand Battalion Group, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Wood says, ”We are all shocked
at the loss of life and injuries incurred in this tragic accident and this death has deeply affected us all. The Fijian
soldiers are an integral, popular and well respected part of the New Zealand Battalion Group. Our sincerest condolences
go to Staff Sergeant Rakabu’s family and our thoughts are with the families of those who have been injured. We wish them
a speedy and complete recovery.”
Joint Force Commander, Major General Martyn Dunne says, “the accident was extremely unfortunate and I send my deepest
condolences to the family and friends of the soldier who was killed. Everything possible is being done to ensure that
all of the injured Fijian soldiers are receiving the medical treatment that they need.”
A detailed investigation into the cause of the accident will be conducted.
Contact: Major Bede Fahey, NZFOREM Public Relations Officer,
0061 407 723 645.