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Day three search and rescue operation resumes

February 27, 2018 7:00 pm

Day three search and rescue operation over the missing Cessna 172 training aircraft and its two passengers has resumed this morning.

The Search and rescue operation today will include villagers from the District of Wailevu in Macuata.

District representative Semi Radradra told FBC News they have advised all their men to report to Dogoru village this hour to provide assistance to the rescue teams on the ground.

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He says the men from the villages will assist in combing the mountains of Dogoru area as many of them are more familiar with the mountainous terrain.

Radradra says it’s also the villagers responsibility to help find the missing aircraft and the two passengers as it’s believed it was last seen in their area.

The aerial survey will also continue this morning if weather permits.

FBC News understands a second helicopter will join the search and rescue operation today.

Meanwhile, the joint search conducted by personnel on the ground and also by air from Dogoru up to Delaikoro areas and the surrounding areas yesterday turned out negative as nothing of interest was found.

Chief Operations Officer Acting ACP Maretino Qiolevu says the search was suspended due to the heavy rain and poor visibility.

ACP Qiolevu says a team of over 30 officers from police and RFMF as well as the members of the community will continue the search today.

Police are also requesting those who have been spreading information about alleged sightings to stop doing so, as the search parties who have acted upon information have had to deviate from the search plans only after finding them to be completely false.

Qiolevu reiterates this is a difficult time for the families of the missing persons and spreading such information only leads to unnecessary distress.

Police are asking the public to be mindful of their actions and the effect it has on the two loved ones families.

The Cessna 172 training aircraft was on a navigation exercise to Labasa Airport on Monday morning.

The Pacific Flying School confirms an instructor and a student pilot are on board this aircraft.

PFS says the aircraft was under the command of Iliesa Tawalo who was overseeing training for two students.

PFS says one of the students, got off in Labasa while Tawalo and the remaining student continued their training to Savusavu.

The intention was to land in Savusavu but apparently the weather was not conducive for the aircraft to land and they decided to try to get to Labasa.

That was the last communication between the aircraft and the Airports Fiji Limited Tower.

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