30 May 2002

French Polynesia election to go ahead despite candidates missing in possible crash

4:47 pm on 30 May 2002

The State Council in Paris has ordered the elections in French Polynesia to go ahead on June 1st and 15th as planned despite the disappearance of a twin engine plane a week ago carrying pro-autonomy politicians.

The plane was carrying the pilot and four politicians, including the president of the Fetia Api Party Boris Leontieff, when it took off from Kaukura atoll for what should have been a two hour flight.

Thibault Marais from Tahiti Presse says the disappearance is a mystery, and officials are not confident of finding the passengers or the plane

"The area where they are looking for the plane is quite big. You have many islands but also many uninhabited islands and since we did not find anything, no trace of the plane we do not know if the plane tried to land somewhere or if it just exploded somewhere in the air, so right now there's really nothing we can say about what has happened. We just don't know."

Thibault Marais from Tahiti Presse