Inquest starts on disappearance of New Zealand Navy Officer at Tosua Trench


Kilino Joseph Tua, a New Zealand Navy Officer who went missing at the Tosua Trench 29 April 2017

By Rula Su’a – Vaai

APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 07 JUNE 2018: The inquest into the mysterious disappearance of a New Zealand Navy Officer who came to Samoa for a holiday last year was heard in court yesterday.

Kilino Joseph Tua, a 24 year old New Zealand born Samoa went missing on Saturday 29 April 2017 while visiting the To Sua Ocean Trench at Lotofaga, a popular tourist site on the Eastern Side of Upolu Island.

In court, the deceased’s uncle, Sola Ati Nepa said there was still no new information on the disappearance of his nephew.

“My niece picked him up from the airport. They came to my house and Kilino looked excited and very happy, and looked forward to spending his holiday in Savaii. He kept saying that he cannot wait to go to To Sua.”

They left again to confirm Kilino’s accommodation bookings at Taumeasina resort and to get him a telephone sim card.

“They came back at about 5pm, we talked, and they went off again to go to the gym in Apia. They returned at about 11.00 at night, and we had our meal.”

Sola said, at about 6am the next morning, his nephew told him that he wanted to go and look for a tourist spot to spend his day.

“He was still wearing his pink pants, and that was the last time I saw him alive,” he said.

“My daughter called me at about 7pm about a police car in front of our house. When I arrived, the police had left.”  Sola then contacted the police station at Lalomanu and he was informed of the search for Kilino.

According to Sola, before his nephew disappeared, he told him that he did not want anyone to accompany him at To Sua.

“He was specific when he said that.”

Judge Rosella Papali’i is reserving her decision on the matter.

The incident was first reported to the Police station by the owner of the Tosua Trench when a car was still parked at the sites car park after 6.00pm.

Failing to find the owner of the car, he called the police.

More than 20 police officers were sent in to search for the missing man.

Members of the nearby villages familiar with the area assisted in the search but were not able to find the missing person.

The 24 year old Kilino Joseph Tua – a New Zealand born Samoan was visiting for the first time. He was traveling alone and visited the trench on Saturday 29 April 2017.