Brigham Young University offensive lineman dies in construction accident

HONOLULU — Brigham Young University offensive lineman Sione Veikoso was killed 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 reported three more people were injured when the 15-foot (4.5-meter) rock face partially fell behind a home in Kailua, about 12 miles northeast of Honolulu .

“He was a gentle giant who loved his family. He was dependable 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 freshman season at BYU, where he transferred after a year at Arizona State, while maintaining four years of eligibility.

Firefighters arrived at the house just before noon on Friday to find the wall collapsed and bystanders using a small excavator to remove rocks trapping the men. Rescuers called them back 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 abducted around 12:30 p.m. and pronounced dead at the scene at 1:35 p.m.

The owner told authorities she was having the stone wall repaired. A total of six people were at the scene. One man escaped from the rubble before firefighters arrived but refused to seek treatment and two were unhurt.

“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 for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Manaus, Brazil, before enrolling in college.


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