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Villagers tired, sick after search

Serafina Silaitoga
Friday, March 02, 2018

SOME villagers who returned from the search operation on Tuesday had to take a break and rest because some fell sick and tired.

Navakuru Village headman Ratu Vere Wawatabua said they rested on Wednesday because some of his team members started coughing and had joint aches.

The team was out in the Delaikoro mountain range as part of the search team for Merelesita Lutu and Iliesa Tawalo who went missing on Monday afternoon when the Pacific Flying School's Cessna 172 aircraft they were in crashed at the mountain range.

"We will rest for a few days because when we went on Tuesday, it was raining heavily and we were in our wet clothes all day," he said.

"We returned to the village late at night because we left the forest at about 8pm and we reached the mountain top overlooking Savusavu Bay.

"So yesterday (Wednesday) some of us got sick, tired, coughing and also had body aches so we thought of getting some rest."

Ratu Vere said it was an honour for the villagers to be part of the search and rescue operation.

"We used our own dogs that we take out for hunting and they led us through the tracks in the forest," he said.

"They were very useful in bringing us back to the village because they know this forest very well as they usually lead us to find wild boars.

"I also thank the villagers for supporting police in the search for the two pilots whose bodies have been found.

"Our deepest condolences to both families."

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