An Auckland man who headed to Fiji to celebrate his marriage with family is "broken" after celebrations were cancelled so the family could lay his sister and father to rest.
Mechanic Krishneel Goundar and his wife, Pavitra Goundar, arrived at Nadi Airport on Sunday expecting to be greeted by his two relatives.
Instead, the pair would learn Krishneel's relatives had been swept away by a swollen river.
His father Veer Goundar and his 25-year-old sister Shinal Mudliar were on their way to the airport when their vehicle was washed off the Tabarua Bridge.
Krishneel laid Mudliar to rest in a funeral service yesterday.
He was in the midst of organising a funeral for his father, which would be held on Saturday.
His friend and employer, Auckland-based Brett Horsfall, said when he received a call from Krishneel on Sunday afternoon he went into shock.
Horsfall, who owns and operates Mag & Turbo in Lunn Ave, said his friend's "world had crashed around him".
"He called me around 2pm, that was after he found out what had happened. He had basically no information, he couldn't contact anyone, roads were closed ..."
The pair left the house of Damodran Mudliar, Asia Pacific Report said, and about 15 minutes later Krishneel's sister was calling for help.
"The rain was pouring and the wind was also quite strong, and when I got to the Uciwai Bridge at about 5.10am, I couldn't see anything," Damodran Mudliar said.
"My daughter-in-law's voice kept going round and round in my head and I got out of my car with a friend and we crossed to the bridge to try and look for them."
Mudliar said the current was strong which made the search difficult, Asia Pacific Report said.
"We kept looking for about half an hour and when the water level went down a little bit, I drove to Nawai Police Post and reported the matter."
Upon hearing the news, Horsfall had told his friend he could have leave without pay for however long he needed, to organise the two funerals and be with family overseas.
"I just don't want him to have that kind of stress," he said.
"When you're in that kind of position you don't want to know about paying your rent back home ... if you've got no money worries in the back of your mind it's going to be an easier process."
Horsfall described Krishneel as a "loyal" employee and mate.
The pair had met when Krishneel had started working as a mechanic at Mag & Turbo in Palmerston North.
After Krishneel had met his wife, who was based in Auckland, he moved up and worked in the chain's Mt Wellington store, which Horsfall had since acquired.
Horsfall said the pair had become good friends and often "hung out" talking shop.
"Having such a big problem put on his shoulders now, I can't imagine what he might be going through."
"We're trying to do everything we can to take that financial burden off of him."
Horsfall had also set up a Givealittle page for Krishneel to help recover some of the costs of the two funerals and help fund the wedding celebration that was thrown by the wayside.
Krishneel had already married Pavitra in a ceremony in New Zealand, but had gone over to Fiji for traditional Fijian-Indian celebrations.
The hope was, Horsfall said, for the Givealittle page to raise an amount "north of $20,000" to help pay for both the funerals, and another wedding.
He said "20 to 25 would cover everything the family is going through, everything they've lost."
"Once he recovers and when he feels the time is right, to do those celebrations again and have the wedding when he feels the time is right."