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Beyond the call of duty

Felix Chaudhary
Wednesday, February 28, 2018

PACIFIC Flying School (PFS) instructor Iliesa Tawalo was not supposed to be on the Cessna 172 that went missing in Korotari, Labasa on Monday afternoon.

PFS managing director and owner Tim Joyce said Mr Tawalo volunteered to sit in while a trainee conducted the flight.

Speaking to this newspaper from Labasa yesterday, he said Mr Tawalo always went out of his way to assist trainees, just as he did on Monday morning when he accompanied Kalara Derederenalagi and another trainee, Merelesita Lutu.

"Iliesa wasn't even supposed to be on that flight, he was only sitting in as a safety pilot," said Mr Joyce.

"That's just the kind of person he is.

"Iliesa is not only an employee, he is a very valued member of our team.

"He is one of the ones we sponsored and apart from our professional relationship, he is also a very close friend.

"Iliesa always went above and beyond the call of duty in terms of assisting our trainees. He is extremely professional and very experienced as an instructor.

"As difficult as this is for us, I can't even imagine what his family is going through, and also the family of the female trainee and our thoughts are also with them at this time."

The aircraft took off from the Nadi International Airport bound for Labasa at 7.30am with Mr Tawalo, Ms Derederenalagi and Ms Lutu on board.

They dropped Ms Derederenalagi off at Labasa and were making their way to Savusavu when the Cessna 172 aircraft lost communication with the control tower about 12.30pm on Monday.

When the duo failed to report back, a search and rescue effort was launched.


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