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Aircraft missing

Repeka Nasiko And Shayal Devi
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

LET God's will prevail. Those were the words of 59-year-old Mosese Baledrokadroka as he waits for word on the Pacific Flying School Cessna 172 aircraft that has been reported missing after failing to land at the Labasa airport yesterday.

His son, Iliesa Tawalo, was the instructor on board the aircraft.

From their shared home at Beverly Hills, Votualevu, in Nadi, Mr Baledrokadroka said he was praying for God's intervention.

"I will keep praying for Iliesa to come back home, but at the end of the day everything happens according to God's will," he said.

"He left home after 4am and told me he would be back from work in the afternoon.

"I didn't know he was going to Labasa, but when he starts early in the morning I usually know that he would be flying.

"The last thing he told me was to look after his younger cousins."

He said his son lost his mother two years ago.

"He is my late wife's son, but I raised him like my own. Together we raised him and two other boys and two girls."

Mr Baledrokadroka said his last conversation with his son was about a trip to Lomaiviti.

"We had a prayer meeting yesterday (Sunday) and I was telling him that I wanted to go to the village, but he didn't want me to go."

An instructor at the Pacific Flying School for five years, Mr Tawalo and two female trainee pilots departed Nadi at 7.30am.

Yesterday, Pacific Flying School confirmed the Cessna 172 training aircraft was overdue on a navigation exercise to Labasa Airport, Vanua Levu.

According to PFS, they co-ordinated with the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) and Airports Fiji Ltd (AFL) to conduct an aerial and ground search.

The aircraft was under the command of Mr Tawalo, who was conducting training for two female students. One of the students got off in Labasa while the second continued with her training.

The school said the intention was to land in Savusavu, but the weather was not conducive for the aircraft to land. The duo had decided to try to get to Labasa. That was the last communication between the aircraft and the AFL tower in Nadi.

When contacted, school managing director Tim Joyce said he could not make any comments.

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