13-Month-Old Toddler Dies in Fiji After Falling Overboard on Family’s Boat While Parents Were Cooking in the Galley

The heart-wrenching tale of the Toki family from New Zealand unfolded tragically in the idyllic waters of Fiji, leaving them to mourn the loss of their 13-month-old daughter, Māhina Toki. The harrowing incident occurred on July 28 during their voyage on the 10-meter catamaran named Kalamari.

The Toki family had embarked on an adventurous journey, sailing from the Great Barrier Reef, New Zealand, and docking at Musket Cove in Malolo Lailai, Fiji. The parents, Mark and Kiri, had secured their precious child, Māhina, in a harness on the deck. As they prepared a meal in the galley, little Māhina was engrossed in watching a movie.

However, tragedy suddenly unfolded. When Mark and Kiri returned to the deck, they were confronted by a parent’s worst nightmare – Māhina was no longer on the boat. Panic and frantic searching ensued as they combed every corner of the vessel. Their desperation turned to shock when they finally spotted their beloved daughter floating alone in the vast expanse of the sea. They hurriedly retrieved her lifeless body from the water and raced to shore, where concerned onlookers rushed to their aid, hoping against hope to revive the precious toddler.

Despite the heroic efforts of doctors and medical staff, Māhina could not be resuscitated. The news of this devastating incident sent shockwaves through Musket Cove Resort and the boating community. Viki Moore, owner of Island Cruising New Zealand, expressed the trauma experienced by everyone who bore witness to this heartbreaking event. Moore also highlighted that tethering children on the deck is standard practice, making this tragic incident all the more bewildering.

The Toki family, though not part of the cruising rally, had ventured to Fiji independently, seeking adventure and natural beauty. Authorities in Fiji launched an investigation into the incident, while the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade extended consular assistance to the grieving family. In the wake of this unspeakable tragedy, a friend of the Toki family set up a crowdfunding page on Givealittle.

Though the page is no longer active, it raised nearly $21,000 by July 30 to help cover the costs of the family’s return to New Zealand and funeral expenses. The page description celebrated Māhina’s joyful spirit and love for the water, leaving a poignant message to their beloved daughter: “To the beloved Māhina, may you forever live in peace, splashing with joy somewhere in the sea.”

As the Toki family began the painful journey back to their home on Great Barrier Island, New Zealand, they were burdened with the unbearable loss of their precious Māhina, whose memory will forever linger as a beacon of joy and innocence on the open sea.

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