BYU offensive lineman Veikoso dies in construction accident
HONOLULU (AP) — Brigham Young University offensive lineman Sione Veikoso was killed in a construction accident in his hometown in Hawaii, family members said.
Veikoso, 22, died Friday after a retaining wall he was helping repair during holiday break from school collapsed, his family confirmed. The Honolulu Fire Department reported that three others were injured when the 15-foot (4.5-meter) rock wall partially fell behind a home in Kailua, which is about 12 miles (19 kilometers) northeast of Honolulu.
“He was a gentle giant who loved his family. He was reliable and caring,” Veikoso’s cousin Joshua Kava said in a written statement to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
The 6-foot-7 (2-meter), 305-pound (138-kilogram) lineman had completed his first season at Brigham Young, where he transferred after one year at Arizona State, while retaining four years of football eligibility.
Firefighters arrived at the home just before noon Friday to find the collapsed wall and bystanders using a small excavator to remove rocks trapping the men. Rescuers called them off because of the wall’s instability and manually removed rocks to free two of the men in about 15 minutes. But Veikoso was trapped deeper.
He was removed about 12:30 p.m. and was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:35 p.m.
The homeowner told authorities she was having the stone wall repaired. A total of six people were at the scene. One man escaped the rubble before firefighters arrived but refused treatment and two were uninjured.
“Rest in Love Sione. God be with you till we meet again,” BYU football said in a tweet.
On behalf of the entire BYU Football family, our thoughts and prayers are with Sione's family and friends during this extremely difficult time.
Rest in Love Sione. God be with you till we meet again. pic.twitter.com/Bn0oW4kylY
— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) December 31, 2022
After high school, Veikoso spent two years as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Manaus, Brazil, before enrolling in college.
BYU Football organized a GoFundMe to “help Sione’s family with unexpected funeral and burial costs.”
*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.
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