Independent investigator to carry out probe

GOVERNMENT will appoint an independent investigator to oversee necessary investigations regarding the missing Pacific Flying School Cessna 172 aircraft.

Attorney-General and Minister for Civil Aviation Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the aircraft, Reg DQ FTR, was reported missing at midday on Monday.

“We confirmed to the Department of Civil Aviation that an independent investigator will shortly be appointed to carry out all the necessary investigations,” he said.

He added they were hopeful of finding the plane.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the Fiji Rescue Co-ordination Centre, made up of the Airports Fiji Ltd, CAAF, Fiji Police Force, Republic of Fiji Military Forces and the Fiji Navy, took over the search and rescue operation from 2.30pm on Monday afternoon.

“The last location on the automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADSB) for the Cessna 172 aircraft recorded by ATC is about six nautical miles south-southwest of Labasa and approximately one nautical mile west-northwest of Navakuru Village,” he said.

“The search and rescue operations are still continuing led by AFL, CAAF, Fiji Police, RFMF and Navy.”

Yesterday, SODELPA parliamentarian Mosese Bulitavu said the Ministry of Defence and National Security should implement guidelines for search and rescue operations. This, he said in a statement, would efficiently save lives and properties or successfully conduct searches on land, in the air and water.

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