SEARCH AND RES­CUE: TAIL OF ILL-FATED HE­LI­COPTER

FOUND; STILL NO SIGN OF MISS­ING PI­LOT AND TWO-YEAR-OLD CHILD

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - SHALVEEN CHAND Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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.

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