Fiji Time: 3:31 AM on Sunday 25 March

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Pilot was centre

Lice Movono
Saturday, March 10, 2018

Update: 12:33PM CENTREPIECE was the way her family described late trainee pilot Merelesita Lutu whose death has captivated the nation.

Farewelled in a very moving public funeral yesterday, the young aviator's final rites was similar to that worthy of a national leader in the number of people who attended the service at Suva's Centenary Church.

Speaking on behalf of her siblings, Vasemaca Lutu said the family were deeply hurt and saddened following the Cessna 172 crash on the Delaikoro mountain range in Vanua Levu which killed the youngest of five siblings. 

"Salau (Merelesita) lived a life that we are proud of, she lived to the fullest, she served the Lord faithfully and she lived doing what she loved most; fulfilling her dream to become a pilot," Ms Lutu said.

"If there is anything that Salau has taught us it is to be grateful for each day God had given us and live each day to the fullest."

The family, who are Christians said they were "fixed firmly on our savior, Jesus Christ and whether we live or die, it is all for Him."

They said the young aviators life represented their faith. 

"As a family, Salau departure has left a void in our hearts, we have lost our 'baby' our pride and joy and the centerpiece of our family," Ms Lutu said.

"No words can express how deeply hurt and saddened we all are as a family."

"On behalf of my siblings, we would like to express our sincere and heartfelt gratitude to the search and rescue team that risked their own lives to find and retrieve Salau and our dear friend Iliesa."

The family made special mention of the help the province of Macuata and specifically the men and women of Doguru gave to the rescue effort. 

"To all those involved in the effort - Vinaka Vakalevu," Ms Lutu said.

"On that note, outpouring support from all Fijians local and overseas."

Ms Lutu concluded her farewell message to say they were glad the pain of losing someone who does not return from duty was limited to theirs and the family of flying instructor Iliesa Tawalo who died along with the 20 year old on February 26.

Watch the funeral:

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