22 Jan 2015

Tonga MA60 pilot says Adams incident 'misreported'

9:17 am on 22 January 2015

A New Zealand pilot in Tonga says an incident earlier this month at Fua'amotu airport was completely misreported.

News agencies in New Zealand responded to a tweet from New Zealand athlete Valerie Adams, who was on board the Y-12 aircraft bound for 'Eua.

Ms Adams reported the flight was cancelled due to faulty brakes and the plane "started to slide off the runway".

Some news reports incorrectly said the plane was the controverisal MA60 at the centre of a long dispute between New Zealand and Tonga, over its safety record.

New Zealand pilot Peter Williams, who has been flying the MA60, said he was taxiing behind the Y-12, and the reports are wrong.

"He did a brake check on his way down and decided that the brakes needed some sort of checking and turned around and went back to Taxiway Alpha and as he continued back for maintenance he clarified whatever issues he had with brakes.

"At no stage did I see the aircraft fall off the runway, go off the runway or even attempt to take off."

Mr Williams said the MA60 had not had any issue and was a reliable aircraft.