19 Feb 2005

Pilot tells of devastated village in American Samoa after Cyclone Olaf

9:13 am on 19 February 2005

In the Manu'a Islands of American Samoa, the village of Fitiuta on Ta'u island appears to have suffered the most damage from Cyclone Olaf.

This is according to the first travellers from Tutuila to land in Manu'a when Inter Island Air resumed flights to the islands yesterday afternoon.

The airline's Director of Operations, Vili Lomaloma, piloted the first flight after the cyclone.

He says the storm felled all but a handful of buildings in Fitiuta village.

"Most of the buildings are down, roof down, coconut trees; most of them are cut into half, banana tree, breadfruit tree, so I just counted about, the church, and the building at the airport; three or four buildings that stood, and most of them have the roof gone, and some are half-roofed."

Cyclone Olaf is now weakening as it moves further southeast, from Rarotonga.