Tongan man may never walk again after falling off roof during Cyclone Gita

A father of six injured after falling from a roof during the cyclone in Tonga may never be able to walk again.

In his bed at Vaiola Hospital, church caretaker and security guard O'fila Havea is grieving and in a state of disbelief.

"During the storm I came out and saw the roof of the church was damaged so I climbed up to try and fix it," he said.

The church sheltering families from the storm.

"I climbed up with a hammer and some nails to nail the roof", he said.

"But it was slippery and I fell four to five metres and hit my back on some bricks.

"I can no longer feel my body from the hips down."

Mr Havea is still awaiting test results, but doctors have told him he's injured his spine and may be paralysed.

Further compounding this tragedy is what's happened to his family's home.

Mr Havea told Newshub that on the night the storm hit, he tried to save his own home, but when he knew it was too late he raced to the church.

He said he only got up on the roof because he wanted to make it safe for the dozens of others inside.

Mr Havea's son Viliami showed Newshub around and spoke of his father as a tireless worker who cared about everyone.

"My father works hard but he cares about people and his heart is a heart of love," he said.

Back at the hospital, Mr Havea's wife of 32 years hasn't left his side since the accident and has a message - please pray for us.

"That's the most important thing for my family - to pray for my husband and my family and the Kingdom of Tonga," she said.

He may not walk again, but his family say they're just grateful he's still alive.


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