NEWS

Helicopter Accident: Search And Rescue Operations Continue

“I cannot imagine the pain that the father of the child might be going through, we’re working together with the police to find the bodies and to bring closure to the families.”
05 Aug 2019 13:39
Helicopter Accident: Search And Rescue Operations Continue
Aerial search over Natewa Bay continues for the two missing persons. Photo: FMSRCC

Search and rescue operations continue this morning over Natewa Bay.

According to the Rescue Coordination Centre Fiji, an aircraft has been tasked to investigate a beacon activation.

Volunteer boats are also assisting in the search.

The Centre continues to coordinate with Police and other agencies.

Since the accident on Friday night, only a body of a woman has been found.

Still missing are the pilot and a 2-year-old child.

Helicopter

The Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji in a statement had confirmed that the  the four-seater white Robinson ‘R’44 helicopter, registration DQ- HPT is owned by Parker Equipment Hire Ltd based in Savusavu.

“Evidence found at the scene suggests that the helicopter had impacted the water at a relatively high speed and that there are no survivors.”

The missing pilot is Gilbert Parker. He also owns Parker Equipment Hire Ltd.

Missing pilot of the ill-fated helicopter that crashed into the Natewa Bay waters, Gilbert Parker.

Missing pilot of the ill-fated helicopter that crashed into the Natewa Bay waters, Gilbert Parker.

Close friends said that when the call came through, Parker looked at the weather but his heart was for the child and he wanted to help the child get medical attention.

Mr Parker has two grown children and have been separated from his wife.

His children are expected to arrive into the country today

Warm Meals

Meanwhile, Vanuavou villagers were seen over the past two days cooking and preparing meals for the search and rescue interagency teams.

Lavenia Sima said when Police and the other search teams arrived, they have been helping them out with warm cooked meals.

“The weather is not favourable, it’s windy with strong currents, and a warm meal helps,” Mrs Sima said.

Volunteers

Former Police officer Aminiasi Katonivualiku was one of the many who assisted in the search operations.

He also found the baby’s lifejacket washed on the shore.

“The woman was found still wearing the lifejacket but today (yesterday) I found the two year-old child’s lifejacket only.

“I cannot imagine the pain that the father of the child might be going through, we’re working together with the police to find the bodies and to bring closure to the families,” Mr Katonivualiku said.

The Survivor series team who are currently in the North also pitched in to help. They released a drone to assist in the aerial search of the two missing persons.

 

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