Farmers tell of ‘loud bang’
1 March, 2018, 12:00 am
AS part of her weekly chores, Mereadani Salaiwai had travelled early in the morning to the Delaikoro mountain range to attend to her yaqona farm.
The 33-year-old mother had travelled at 8.30am as usual, braving the heavy rain that was felt around Macuata that morning.
“Between 12 midday to 1pm I heard an aircraft pass the farm located on a mountain below Delaikoro peak,” she said.
“It was so close that I thought it was a truck passing by because my farm was near to the road leading to the Telecom Fiji Ltd transmitter site.
“It circled the farm two times followed by a loud bang after five minutes.
“There was heavy rain in the area and it had begun at 10am when we were still at the farm.”
Ms Salaiwai said when the plane circled her farm, she could not see it as the mist and fog affected visibility in the area.
“Another woman who was at the farm named Latileta also heard the bang and she actually said that the plane was closer to her as her farm was located over mine,” she said.
“We had tried to call the village to get news of any aircraft missing, but we could not get through to the village because of the weather.
“When we met later, we spoke about our experience and we were really determined that a plane had crashed at the mountains.
“In the afternoon when we met at the village, we later learned from the news over the radio that a search had begun for a missing aircraft.”
Ms Salaiwai said the first thing that crossed her mind were the passengers who may have been on the aircraft when it crashed.