21 May 2011

Plane problems leave passengers stranded in Tonga's Vava'u

9:41 am on 21 May 2011

Chathams Pacific's 50-seater Convair, which operates the link between the Tonga islands, was grounded due to mechanical problems leaving passengers stranded in Vava'u.

Taimi Tongaonline reports the glitch had left passengers, which include a significant portion of the regional high-level Trade Minister's meeting which recently wrapped up in Neiafu.

A majority of Tonga's Cabinet are also in Vava'u for the upcoming TERM-donors' forum.

Chathams Pacific's General Manager, Noel Gillespie, says pre-flight inspections of the craft revealed a faulty bearing in the plane's control systems.

He says the plane was therefore grounded until the defects were rectified, with a replacement being flown in from New Zealand.