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11 November 2022

Authorities investigate Rarotonga International Airport blaze

Thursday 11 May 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Economy, National


Authorities investigate Rarotonga International Airport blaze
The fire started about 12.15pm and it took just over 30 minutes to have the blaze fully under control. Photo credit: Jeff Williams/ 23051050

A fire broke out at Rarotonga’s International Airport terminal midday yesterday which was swiftly contained by the Airport Authority Crash Fire stationed next door.

Chief fire officer Breamnt Kea said the fire, on the roof of the departure terminal, started about 12.15pm, adding it took just over 30 minutes to have the fire fully under control.  

The Volunteer Fire Brigade services on the islands also arrived on the scene to help douse the blaze.

There were no international flights at the time of the blaze, Kea said. Airport staff were seen standing safely out in the car park area while the firefighters worked hard to put out the blaze.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. As of yesterday afternoon, Kea said that “no findings” have been confirmed.

Efforts to contact Airport Authority chief executive officer Nikau Tangaroa for comments proved futile.

Rarotonga resident Junior Tapoki. Photo: MELINA ETCHES

Rarotonga resident Junior Tapoki, who arrived on the scene after the volunteer firefighters, said: “I think it was an unusual event that occurred, however just fortunate that no one was injured/hurt when the fire broke out. It could’ve been worse but just glad everyone was ok including those that are working in the departure’s hall.”

“It was an (unexpected) turn of events, Airport Authority jumped into action ensuring to cater for those that are working at the airport, safety of passengers and other relevant authorities that are based there. Provided that the fire caused a bit of hiccup with normal operations, inter-agency (cooperation) played a huge part in ensuring that the services were met especially with an incoming international flight and domestic flights. So I guess safety plays a huge part in all operations.”