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D/FW AIRPORT -- It was a truly moving moment on the tarmac.

Strangers in the airport stopped to watch it from the windows above, crying.

Dozens of baggage handlers, family, and friends, standing in the blazing heat to welcome home Gaius Vaenuku, who died in a car accident Monday night in New Mexico, and his father, who went there to retrienve his son'd body.

Onboard Flight 1662 - arriving from Albuquerque - was Samuela Vaenuku, a longtime AA baggage handler, escorting home the casket of his son, a football star from Euless who was headed to play college ball in Utah.

So overwhelming," Vaenuku said. "It looked so pretty when you came into the terminal."

Couldn t hold back my tears," said sister Andrea Vaenuku. "As much as I ve been strong, to see him in a box -- that s the last thing I wanted to do. Just glad he s home."

Gaius was one of three young men killed in the one car crash. The two others were brothers Lolo "Junior" Uhatafe, 13, and Polo Manaukainiu, 19.

A third brother, Siaosi Uhatafe, who was driving the car, survived.

More than 300 people gathered for a vigil for the brothers Wednesday night at First Baptist Church of Euless.

All the families are part of the tight-knit Polynesian community in Euless.

I got a chance to talk to the other family in the accident," said Gaius' father, Samuela. "I have great love for them. I forgive them for what happened. It s not their fault. It s nobody's fault. For me, I believe it was my son s time to go."

The caskets for the two other boys have not yet arrived.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com

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