HONOLULU — Sione Veikoso, an offensive lineman for Brigham Young University, died in a construction accident in his hometown in Hawaii, family members said.
Veikoso, 22, died on Friday after a retaining wall he was helping to repair during school holidays collapsed, his family confirmed. The Honolulu Fire Department said three other people were injured when the 15-foot (4.5-meter) wall of rock partially collapsed behind a home in Kailua, which is about 12 miles (19 kilometers) northeast. from Honolulu.
“He was a gentle giant who loved his family. He was trustworthy and caring,” Veikoso’s cousin Joshua Kava said in a written statement to Honolulu’s star advertiser.
The 6-foot-7, 305-pound lineman had completed his first season at BYU, where he transferred after a year at Arizona State while retaining four years of eligibility.
Firefighters arrived at the home shortly before noon Friday to find the wall collapsed and bystanders using a small bulldozer to remove boulders trapping the men. Rescuers called them off due to the instability of the wall and manually removed rocks to free two of the men in about 15 minutes. But Veikoso was trapped deeper. He was removed around 12:30 p.m. and pronounced dead at the scene at 1:35 p.m.
The owner told authorities that she was repairing the stone wall. A total of six people were in the place. One man escaped from the rubble before firefighters arrived, but refused treatment and two were unharmed.
“Rest in love Sione. God be with you until we meet again.» BYU football said in a tweet.
After high school, Veikoso spent two years as a missionary with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Manaus, Brazil, before enrolling in college.