Matana tells of sighting

DOGORU villager Benedito Matana’s experience on Monday afternoon may have helped in the successful location of the missing Cessna 172 aircraft.

Mr Matana saw the aircraft before it crashed on Monday afternoon.

Police and army officers shifted focus on their search after hearing first hand of the 31-year-old farmer’s story during the briefing at the village yesterday morning.

Mr Matana, who was at his farm at Delaikoro on Monday, said searchers were operating in the wrong place, relying on information from those who did not see the aircraft.

“I was on my phone and it was raining heavily with limited sight because of the heavy mist and fog that had built up around the Delaikoro mountain range,” he said. “After a break, I had taken shelter under a tree to smoke my tobacco when I heard the unmistakable sound of an airplane. It flew so low and I could hear its engine loudly. It made two rounds before it disappeared and it was on the first round that I could see the small airplane.” 

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