Pita Taufatofua: Olympic flagbearer’s father home safe after ‘massive journey’

Earlier this week Taufatofua, who grew to become widely known after being his nation’s flagbearer on the Summer and Winter Olympics, instructed CNN that he had “no idea” of his 74-year-old father’s whereabouts following the large eruption of the underwater Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano.

But on Friday, his father walked by way of the door of Taufatofua’s household home on the primary island of Ha’apai — “sun burnt and tired,” however safe after a “big adventure,” stated the Olympic athlete in an Instagram publish on Friday.

Taufatofua stated his father had boarded a Navy boat within the fast wake of the tsunami, supporting rescue and first response on the primary island of Ha’apai earlier than departing the boat to “survey and assist out” on the outer islands.

After virtually every week working in first response, the 74-year-old acquired a small boat to return him to Ha’apai and his household home — a lot to the “shock” of his household.

“He wanted to get straight back to work with the community,” Taufatofua posted on Instagram alongside an image of his father on the couch on Friday.

“The family wouldn’t let him and here he is safe and sound resting. He’s going to need his energy to help Ha’apai in her recovery efforts over the following days, weeks and months.”

"My father, sun burnt and tired after his adventure", Taufatofua's Instagram post read.

Elon Musk assesses help choices

Taufatofua stated that his father had spoken of the “damage and devastation” in a number of the nation’s outer islands, echoing updates offered by the Tongan authorities on Tuesday.

In its first official replace since Saturday’s eruption, Tonga’s authorities confirmed the deaths of three individuals and several other different accidents.

Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni added that the “volcanic mushroom plume” prolonged to cowl the entire nation’s roughly 170 islands — of which 36 are inhabited — impacting the whole inhabitants of greater than 100,000 individuals.

Tonga is reportedly set to be with out full web connectivity for a month on account of the eruption, main Taufatofua — who has established a GoFundMe fundraising web page to assist these most affected by the tsunami — to ask Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk for help.
Flag bearers Malia Paseka and Pita Taufatofua of Team Tonga lead their team out during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“Hey @ElonMusk, us Tongans got hit by a volcano and a tsunami … followed by no communication,” Taufatofua tweeted on Wednesday.

“Any chance we could borrow your wifi? #starlink”

A division of SpaceX, Starlink makes use of satellites in low orbit to “provide high-speed, low-latency broadband internet” worldwide, in response to their web site.

Responding to the report by Reuters relating to Tonga’s web outage, on Friday Musk tweeted: “Could people from Tonga let us know if it is important for SpaceX to send over Starlink terminals?”
Musk at TIME Person of the Year on December 13, 2021.
Earlier on Friday, New Zealand member of parliament Dr. Shane Reti tweeted a picture of a letter addressed to Musk — dated January 17 — asking if he might present “urgent Starlink internet communications to public officials and the good people of Tonga in this moment of need.”
Having been made conscious of Dr. Reti’s tweet by one other consumer, Musk replied that “this is a hard thing for us to do right now.”

“We don’t have enough satellites with laser links and there are already geo sats that serve the Tonga region. That is why I’m asking for clear confirmation.”

CNN has reached out to SpaceX for remark.

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