BYU offensive lineman Sione Veikoso died Friday in a construction accident in Hawaii. He is 22 years old.
Veikoso was killed when a stone wall collapsed at a home outside Kailua, Hawaii KITV 4 reported. He was one of three people trapped under the ruins of the Wall. The other two trapped people were taken to hospital in serious condition.
At 12.13pm, the first person was pulled from the rubble and transferred to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in a serious condition. A second person was freed shortly after and transferred to an emergency centre, also in a serious condition.
A third person was found further under the rubble and firefighters were able to clear the remaining debris to free him.The man was pronounced dead at 1:35 p.m.
“Sad to learn of the tragic passing of one of our brothers, Sione Veikoso,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake tweeted Friday night. “His passing breaks our hearts. Our deepest condolences and prayers go out to his family as we share their grief. Our love for you is forever, Sione!”
In a statement to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, his family said he worked throughout his teens to support his single mother, who died seven years ago. Two other men working at the scene suffered minor injuries, according to the Honolulu Fire Department.
The family described Veikoso as a “good boy” who had shown “selflessness” and worked hard to help provide financial support for his single mother who died seven years ago.
“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.
Veikoso is survived by two sisters, Mele and Sanimata, and a brother, also named Sione, Kava said.
Veikoso, a Kailua native, is moving to BYU ahead of the 2022 season after playing at Arizona State in 2021. He went to ASU after a two-year mission with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Brazil.
The 6-foot, 305-pound forward played in one Cougars game in 2022 as a redshirt freshman. His cousin Sione Kava spent two seasons at Oregon at defensive tackle in 2018-19, and cousin Isi Sofole played running back at Cal from 2009-12.