7 Feb 2014

Group of teachers stranded on Pukapuka island

6:31 pm on 7 February 2014

A group of teachers is stranded on the isolated island of Pukapuka in the northern Cook Islands following the six-week closure of the aiport's runway over safety fears.

The chairman of the island's chiefs, Pio Ravarua, says the airstrip needs to be compacted due to loose gravel and sand.

Mr Ravarua says a barge carrying heavy machinery to repair the runway is due to arrive in Pukapuka on Wednesday.

He says a group of teachers is waiting to return to Rarotonga.

"The teachers were supposed to leave mid-December last year but because of the situation with the airport they are of course waiting for a flight and I think they will have the first flight out of here as soon as the airport is fixed."

Pio Ravarua says it is fortunate there have been no medical emergencies on the island while the airport has been out of action.

Another group of teachers is waiting in Rarotonga to travel to the island.