Read the article at SeaplaneMagazine: http://seaplanemagazine.com/2016/03/08/ ... f-flights/
With great force tropical cyclone “Winston” struck the Fiji’s on February 20 of this year. Natural disaster in one of its most violent forms brought great distress to a great many people. But, it also called into action the help and disaster response system put in place by Pacific Island Air, which flew dozens of missions. Chief Pilot Nick Heynick is providing a written recount of some of the flights conducted. Should you find yourself having goosebumps while reading – you’re not alone! Please share this article with decision makers and emergency response professionals, too. Seaplanes play a CRITICAL role in relief efforts and those not taking this topic serious today, may learn a hard lesson in the future.
“Our first flight out after the cyclone (besides evacuating passengers from paradise cove) was a charter for DQ-PIA organized by a local family in Suva. Mr. and Mrs. Rosa were concerned about the livelihood of their family when they saw aerial photos released by the government of their village of Mavana on Vanua Balavu completely leveled and their family home destroyed. They chartered the aircraft from Nadi to meet them in Suva and carry on to Vanuabalavu to search for their missing family. The family involved had ties with Gina in Operations and Colleen at Navutu stars, who’s house belonged to one of her workers grandmother. We were able to raise some funds last minute and fill the remainder of the plane with supplies and food to assist their charter.
Upon reaching Vanuabalavu it was evident that this was the first contact the island had with the outside world since the cyclone 4 days prior. Our crew were able to get a list of deceased and injured persons from the island and pass on the information to the authorities in Suva. This story had a happy ending and after a few hours the grandmother who resided in the big house was located and her and her family were flown out back to Suva. The supplies were delivered to the village before any foreign aid had made it there. .....