Man killed on his way to join fam­ily

South Waikato News - - Front Page - PHILLIPA YALDEN AND LIBBY WIL­SON

It was Gamini Vithanage’s last day in the Waikato.

The Hamil­ton man was plan­ning to fol­low his fam­ily to Dunedin, where his youngest daugh­ter had got into univer­sity, but he was killed in a crash not far from Pu­taruru, at the start of his trip south on Thurs­day last week.

Min­utes ear­lier, he had been say­ing good­bye to a Pu­taruru mate.

And it would be that same mate, a vol­un­teer fire­fighter, who would be one of the first on the scene.

‘‘It’s a re­ally un­be­liev­able thing that has hap­pened,’’ said fam­ily spokes­woman Chan­dani Ji­nadasa, who is pres­i­dent of the Sri Lanka Friend­ship So­ci­ety Waikato.

Vithanage, 56, was an ac­tive mem­ber of the so­ci­ety and well loved, she said.

He was meant to be start­ing a long jour­ney on the day he died - all the way to Dunedin.

His younger daugh­ter, Nadiru, had been ac­cepted to Otago Univer­sity.

‘‘That was [the par­ents’] biggest hope,’’ Ji­nadasa said.

‘‘They wanted her to be a med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner.’’

Vithanage’s wife, Janitha , had moved to Dunedin, as had elder daugh­ter San­daru. San­daru was trans­fer­ring her sci­ence de­gree study to Otago from Waikato.

Story con­tin­ued P7


Gamini Vithana.

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