The chief cook who looked after the Cessna 172 plane crash search and rescue team says she may not have known the two victims, but she felt like they were her own.
Akanisi Radradra said: “Our hearts ache knowing they died on our land. The women came together to prepare meals. They were someone’s children and their families must be hurting so much.”
Flying instructor Iliesa Tawalo and student Merelesita Lutu died in the crash.
“We did our best by cooking meals for the search and rescue teams, the soldiers, Police and the villagers.
“It was the most painful moment, when their bodies were carried from the helicopter to the vehicle that transported them to the hospital. We could not stop crying,” she said.
Another woman Ilisabeta Rota, 37, said: “Everyday early in the morning I left home to prepare breakfast for the rescue team. After that, I went home to prepare breakfast and lunch for my two children and get them ready for school. I didn’t get tired by looking after the rescue team.
“For the past five days the team that cooked food for the rescue team always left for their home at 11pm and made sure that the rescue team was well fed so they have the strength to do the search.”
About 10 women of Dogoru came together to prepare a three-course meal for the search and rescue team.