Air Force assists with cyclone relief
02 January 2002
An Air Force Orion departed from Whenuapai at approximately 5am this morning heading for Tonga to assist with ascertaining the damage inflicted upon the islands by Cyclone Waka.
The Orion arrived in Tonga at 8.30am and will be flying over the three main affected island groups to enable damage assessment to be completed and imagery to be collected.
The Air Force is responding to a request made by the Tongan Government to the New Zealand Government. Tongan Government representatives and New Zealand High Commissioner will be present on the flight. The Orion is expected to return to New Zealand this evening.
Tonga is 1000 nautical miles (1900 km) north east of North Cape.
An Orion crew is kept on stand-by 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for search and rescue and operational tasking.