A bat caused the President of Fiji to enjoy a few more hours of babasiga hospitality the other day. How? Catching a flight from the airport the President was leaving Labasa for Suva when a flight of birds or bats stopped the plane. A bat was caught in an engine! So Ratu Epeli went back to Labasa town (about 20 minutes away) to have a cup of tea. No harm done to the President...but what about the poor little beka!
Long wait for downed flight
Saturday, September 04, 2010
THE President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, waited for about three hours at Labasa airport because his flight was grounded by a bat.
Official secretary in the Office of the President Joeli Rokovada confirmed Ratu Epeli was supposed to depart Labasa at 3.30pm on Wednesday but a bird strike caused the delay. A bat was stuck in the aircraft's engine.
Pacific Sun general manager Jim Samson said they had to divert a second ATR42 returning from Funafuti to collect the 35 passengers stranded in Labasa. The flight also carried a flight engineer to fix the grounded plane.
"The incident delayed the remaining Suva-Nadi-Suva flights last night," Mr Samson said. "Engineers worked through the night on the damaged engine in Labasa and the aircraft resumed service on Thursday morning."
"Well there was no harm to the president except that he had to return to Labasa town to have a cup of tea before departing the airport at 6.30pm."
Meanwhile, there has been a call for communities livi-ng within the vicinity of airports to contr-ibute to airport safety. Airports Fiji Limited Nausori Airport Manager Luke Koroi said the bird strike at the Labasa airport indicated the need for everyone to be responsible in making flights safe from wildlife. Mr Koroi said a Wildlife Committee had been recently formed for the Labasa airport. The airport falls under the Nausori Airport management.