Aid Flights Arrive in Tonga as Some Communications Restored and Volcanic Ash Cleared From Runway

The first aircraft carrying humanitarian aid arrived in Tonga on January 20, days after a volcanic eruption triggered a tsunami, severing communication lines and causing widespread damage.

A Royal Australian Air Force C-17A and a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules landed at the Pacific island nation’s international airport Thursday.

The planes were able to land after Tongan authorities “worked to clear a thick layer of volcanic ash from the runway,” according to Australian officials.

New Zealand officials said communications “remain limited” with Tonga, although some 2G connectivity has been restored.

Footage released by the Australian Defence Force shows personnel preparing a C-17A transport aircraft for departure from an air force base in Queensland. Credit: Australian Defence Force via Storyful

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