Three Fijian-Canadians Die On BC Highway Crash


SURREY – A deadly car accident along BC’s famed Coquihalla Highway last Friday has claimed the lives of three former Fiji citizens, who resided in New Westminster and Surrey.

The relative of the deceased in Fiji, Fahimun Nisha told the local media that dead were 61-year-old Zarina Begum, her 41-year-old son Shahir Khan both residents of New Westminster and her 49-year-old son-in-law Samad Khan, who resided in Surrey. A 42-year-old female driver and 70-year-old passenger escaped with injuries.

Nisha said there were five people in the car at the time of the accident.

“They were on their way to pick a relative from one of the universities when their car tumbled over on the Coquihalla Highway and landed 100 meters down in a ditch,” she said.

Nisha said when the car fell, it caught fire, however, the other two boys who were inside survived the crash and received serious injuries to their heads.

She said the deceased’s family migrated to Canada two years ago. The deceased Zarina Begum, who was a resident of Valelevu, Nasinu, had been staying in Canada with her family for the past 5 years and they had come to Fiji earlier this year to celebrate Eid with their relatives.

Nisha said the final rites were performed at their Surrey home this week.

The crash happened just after 7:30 p.m. PT between Kamloops and Merritt, near the Lac Le Jeune exit.

Investigators say the vehicle caught a soft shoulder, left the roadway and rolled five or six times before crashing 60 metres at the base of an embankment.

Police say witnesses, including a doctor and a nurse, provided first aid before emergency crews arrived.

“They were very lucky they were wearing seat belts, which was fabulous and definitely added to their safety,” said Cpl. Kathleen Thain.

Alcohol has been ruled out as a factor in the crash. Investigators said they have not yet determined if speed was a factor.