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Fiji Time: 8:38 PM on Thursday 24 April

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Iron birds tossed around like paper on the tarmac

Felix Chaudhary
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WHILE most of the Western Division resembled scenes from a battlefield, part of the Nadi International Airport was strewn with mangled aircraft.

Tossed, toppled and twisted by the fury that was Tropical Cyclone Evan, damaged planes owned by a flying school occupied a section of the tarmac.

A float plane lay on its nose with the tail jammed into the door of a hangar building.

Another aeroplane catering to high-end international guests that was secured with strapping across the wings was not spared Evan's wrath — the force of the strong wind bending both wings at their mooring.

Other aircraft that managed to stay upright suffered extensive damage to propellers and external appendages. The aircraft were reportedly secured with the appropriate equipment but the devastating 180km-an-hour wind unleashed by TC Evan broke their moorings and threw the planes askew.

Adverse weather conditions forced the closure of the airport for two days and national carrier Air Pacific had to reschedule domestic and international flights. Several flights were cancelled over this period, because of the disruptions caused by TC Evan's impact.

Rated the strongest cyclone to have hit Fiji on record, Evan, a Category 4 tropical cyclone surpassed the most devastating — Category 2 Kina — which killed 23 people in 1993.

However, the deadliest tropical cyclone to have hit the Fiji Group was 1985's Eric which claimed 25 lives.