Driver, son tells of couple's death

A CANBERRA man has spoken of the harrowing moments after a car accident near Holbrook yesterday in which both his parents were killed and his 14-year-old son was critically injured.

Rad Deo paid tribute to his parents Ram and Padmawati Deo , who were both respected community leaders in Fiji. Rad Deo celebrated his 70th birthday on December 22.

Mr Deo, of Chisholm, said the accident had devastated his family.

“I can't believe it's happened," he said.

Mr Deo was driving his parents, wife Lalita and other members of his family to Melbourne on Wednesday morning when their car came off the road near Holbrook and rolled.

He said he was unsure how the accident had occurred but remembered initially thinking that his 14-year-old son Anav had been killed.

“I crawled out through the window and then went around and got everybody out," he said.

Anav was taken to Gundagai by ambulance and then flown by helicopter at low altitude to The Canberra Hospital because of a head injury.

Anav, who attends St Edmund's College, underwent surgery to remove a blood clot and will require more operations, but is expected to recover.

Mr Deo's mother-in-law Bal Nagamma is in a Melbourne hospital with spinal injuries.

Mr Deo's sister Rajini Kumar is in The Canberra Hospital with less-serious injuries.

Mr Deo's parents had been visiting Ausralia for the Christmas holidays. They had five children and seven grandchildren and were heavily involved in their local community in Labasa, Fiji.

The couple were both social workers and justices of the peace and Mr Deo Sr had been awarded The Queen's Birthday Gold Meal and Certificate of Honour and the Order of Fiji.

“They were very involved with their children and grandchildren and the community as a whole. Most of the people in Fiji around there know them very well," Mr Deo said.

The family celebrated Mr Deo Sr's birthday on December 22.

“He was very proud," Mr Deo said.

Mr Deo Senior's motto was: “To provide selfless service to the community." His wife's motto was: “Work hard and always be happy."

Many members of Canberra's Fijian community and other friends have visited the Deos at home to provide comfort and support.

A funeral for Mr and Mrs Deo Sr is expected to held early next week.

CANBERRA TIMES

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