25 May 2019

Fiji crash report recommends mountain flying training

11:48 am on 25 May 2019

An investigation into a plane crash in Fiji last year has recommended mountain flying training be introduced for all pilots.

Flight instructor Iliesa Tawalo and student Merelesita Lutu were killed last February when their Cessna 172 plane crashed in mountainous terrain on Vanua Levu.

A report by New Zealand-based air accident investigator Andrew McGregor, released on Friday, cleared the pair of any wrongdoing and also ruled out any mechanical faults as the cause of the crash.

He instead concluded that the pair were caught out by a sudden storm while they were flying over mountains from Labasa to Savusavu.

His recommendations included the introduction of mountain flying training, improving the quality aviation weather reports, and developing a new system of emergency communication in Fiji.