BYU football player dead, 3 injured after retaining wall collapses in Kailua

Dec. 31—UPDATE 8:15 p.m.

Family members identified the man who died today after a retaining wall collapsed in Kailua as 22-year-old Sione Veikoso.

Veikoso was an offensive lineman for BYU, where he transferred to as a sophomore in the summer after attending Arizona State University, according to a BYU profile of him.

He graduated from Kailua High School. Afterward, from 2018-2020, he served a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Brazil, according to the profile.

Family members called Veikoso a "great kid" who displayed "selflessness" and worked to help financially support his single mother, who died seven years ago.

"He was a gentle giant who loved his family. He was reliable and caring," said Joshua Kava, Veikoso's cousin, in a written statement to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Kava said Veikoso is survived by two sisters, Mele and Sanimata, and one brother who is also named Sione.

Veikoso was scheduled to fly back to BYU next week, family members said.

Following the accident, friends and family could be seen gathering and consoling each other at the the Kailua home as personnel from the Honolulu Police Department, Honolulu Fire Department and Honolulu Emergency Medical Services investigated the scene.

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One person died and three others were injured after a retaining rock wall collapsed in Kailua today, the Honolulu Fire Department said.

Ten units with 36 firefighters responded to the 1400 block of Akiikii Place just before noon where three men were trapped under the debris of a 15-foot retaining wall that partially collapsed at the rear of a home in the Enchanted Lake neighborhood.

When firefighters arrived, bystanders were using a mini-excavator to try to remove the large rocks and reach the trapped individuals, HFD Acting Assistant Chief Kevin Mokulehua said.

Firefighters told them to stop due to the instability of the remaining wall.

Fire crews manually removed the rocks and rescued two people by 12:13 p.m., he said, but the third person was trapped deeper under the debris.

Firefighters removed the remaining debris to extricate the third man, who was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:35 p.m., Mokulehua said.

A fourth person was able to escape the rubble before firefighters arrived, he said.

Honolulu Emergency Medical Services personnel treated two men and took them to a hospital in serious but stable condition. A third person who was also in serious but stable condition declined to be taken to the hospital, said acting EMS field operations supervisor Felimon Juliano.

A total of six people were at the work site at the time of the rock wall collapse. Juliano said two men sustained minor injuries and didn't require any medical treatment.

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This is a breaking news story that will be updated when additional information becomes available.