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Virgin Australia’s diverted flight to Samoa early this morning returned to Fua’amotu and continued to Sydney this afternoon

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 16/02/2017

Virgin Australia’s Flight 169 had to divert to Apia, Samoa early this morning due to the bad weather.

CEO of Tonga Airports Limited – TAL – Viliami Ma’ake said, this was an alternative option for its 98 passengers together with the flight attendants and pilot from Sydney, Australia.

The aircraft was scheduled to arrive in Tonga at 1:25 AM this morning and to depart again at 6:25 AM.

Viliami said, when they departed Sydney yesterday, they had to have an alternative option in place because of the heavy rain in Tonga.

Close to 1 this morning, VA169 was already in Tonga’s airspace and waiting for any improvement in the weather condition HOWEVER it was windy and gusty and the trough was from the North West, the pilot then decided the best option was to make a diversion to Apia.

The Virgin Australia flight arrived Fua’amotu afternoon and departed for Sydney this afternoon.

Meanwhile, the heavy rain warning remains in force for all of Tonga as well as the flash flood advisory with Tropical depression 12F slowly moving over Tongatapu and ‘Eua.

Director of Tonga’s MET Office said 12F is the 3rd Tropical Depression to reach Tonga during the past week and is unlikely to become a tropical cyclone.

Today, all classes of Government and Church’s schools were cancelled due to the bad weather and some schools are flooded.

© Radio and Television Tonga News