SEARCH AND RESCUE: TAIL OF ILL-FATED HELICOPTER
FOUND; STILL NO SIGN OF MISSING PILOT AND TWO-YEAR-OLD CHILD
New Zealand’s aviation investigator Andrew McGregor says they are a step closer to locating the helicopter that crashed into Natewa Bay in Vanua Levu more than a week ago.
This after the team found the tail of the helicopter registered DQ-HPT.
This is seven days after combing the coastal areas of Natewa Bay. The last three days they spent mapping out the seabed of the possible site where the helicopter is believed to have impacted with the ocean. The Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Naval Division has been using sonar and hydrographic equipment to get to the helicopter.
Mr McGregor said the tail section of the helicopter was found towards the North of Natewa Bay.
He said the search and rescue team had collected pieces of the wreckage on a daily basis in areas where they had predicted the currents would take them. He said this goes to show how strong the currents in the Natewa Bay are.
Mr McGregor believes the find could give them more answers on where the helicopter could be and how it crashed.
He said the preservation of evidence is very vital as this would help them analyse a lot of things.
So far the pilot, Gilbert Parker and two-year-old Epeli Jeremaia are still missing. Epeli’s mother, Taraivosa Moceisuva’s body was found a day after the crash. Her post-mortem was conducted yesterday. Meanwhile on Thursday, family members of the missing pilot laid wreaths in Natewa Bay just outside of Nuku.