NEWS

DQ-HPT Crash: Friends Of Missing Pilot Express Sadness

“Parker would help anyone, a good provider and a workaholic, the latter did come between us in the end. He had a strength of character and a very strong constitution,”
07 Aug 2019 10:37
DQ-HPT Crash: Friends Of Missing Pilot Express Sadness
From left: Gilbert Parker and Sonia Buckley in happier times.

Countless friends of missing pilot, Gilbert Parker have turned to social media to express their sadness after Day Four of search operations.

Mr Parker had answered an emergency call for medical evacuation from Naitauba Island last Friday to airlift two-year-old ‘Baby EJ’ to Labasa Hospital.

Baby EJ was accompanied by his mother Taraivosa Kaci Moceisuva.

The four seater white Robinson ‘R’44 helicopter, registration DQ- HPT crashed into the Natewa Bay waters on its way to the hospital.

The body of Ms Moceisuva was found last Saturday. Her parents and family members have made their way from Nadi to Taveuni to prepare for funeral rites.

Mr Parker and Baby EJ are still missing.

Naitauba Island public relations personnel, who spoke on behalf of Toga Kalougata, the father of Baby EJ, said he was positive that his two-year old son would be found.

Mr Kalougata works at the private retreat on Naitauba Island, Lau.

This has been confirmed to be the last picture taken before the departure of the ill-fated flight from Naitauba last Friday

This has been confirmed to be the last picture taken before the departure of the ill-fated flight from Naitauba last Friday

From Gippsland in Australia, Sonia Buckley, a former partner of Mr Parker described him as a ‘generous man’.

“Parker would help anyone, a good provider and a workaholic, the latter did come between us in the end. He had a strength of character and a very strong constitution,” she said.

“When we first met he had separated from his ex-wife Ericka and he spoke well and always with respect and warmth about her. He had two of his own children Brad and Cassie who he loved greatly, so when we got together he was a natural with my children Tomas and Jasmine, they loved him as a father figure and he adored them.”

Ms Buckley said Mr Parker took her son Tommy into his logging company and taught him qualities, skills and a work ethic that have helped him be the good man that he is today.

Tom still works in the industry.

Ms Buckley’s daughter, Jasmine planned to visit Mr Parker next month and to start a career in business management.

“He had encouraged her to do so and such was the strong bonds the children and he had maintained.”

Ms Buckley recalled that Mr Parker had one day told her that he was getting his Pilot Licence.

“I knew he would. He wrote in texts along a while wall in his house all the instructions he need to learn and looked at it morning and night.

“He achieved his licence and bought a Robinson. When he said he was going to do something nothing would stop him once his course was set that’s just how he operated.

“The last time we saw Parker was just a couple of months ago, we all sat down for a High Country BBQ and he told us of his plans to build a resort on some recently acquired land and how he loved the people and the islands of Fiji.

“He wanted to spend the rest of his life there. He was focused on his dream. We are in deep shock and our hearts go out to Parker’s family and also to Karen his faithful business associate and the families affected by the tragic accident.”

Yesterday the Rescue Coordination Centre Fiji confirmed they’ve covered approximately:

  • 180 square miles of total area by aircraft,
  • 30 km of shoreline searched by ground teams,
  • 40 square miles of coastline covered by 5 boats and
  • 0.2 square miles searched by divers since Saturday.
  • 42 personnel, four boats and one aircraft are directly involved in the operation.

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

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