11 Jul 2015

Tonga charters flight for 59 stranded Pacific Games athletes

8:49 pm on 11 July 2015

Fifty nine Tongan athletes will depart on a chartered flight today, hoping to get connecting flights in time to participate in the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea.

The athletes were turned away from the airport on Tuesday because they didn't have airline tickets, expecting them to be handed out by the Tongan Sports Association (TASA).

Matangi Tonga reports a TASA spokesperson saying the situation was clear negligence by the organisation's President, Secretary General and Chef de Mission, who left for PNG with 196 other athletes and officials on Tuesday.

The spokesperson says TASA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tongan government for $250,000 to charter a plane to Nadi so the athletes can catch connecting flights on Sunday and Monday.

The athletes are participating in Taekwondo, Cricket, Netball, and Athletics.