Pacific Update with Barbara Dreaver: Polio outbreak in PNG, and Tongan-American woman looks for love in her homeland

In the latest edition of Pacific Update with Barbara Dreaver, we look at a polio outbreak in PNG, and a Tongan-American woman looking for love in her homeland, a journey that's gone viral. 

1 NEWS' Pacific correspondent gives a round-up of news from the region. Source: 1 NEWS

Watch: The incredible Airbus Beluga XL takes maiden flight

Pigs may not be able to fly, but apparently whales can, as Airbus has just launched its astonishing looking new plane, the BelugaXL.

Painted to look like its namesake, a beluga whale, it completed a maiden flight today from southern France that was just over four hours long.

The BelugaXL has been built to help Airbus cart plane parts around Europe for its other models.

The whale paint job was voted for in a poll by over 20,000 people.

The giant plane needs to undergo another 586 hours of flight tests over ten months to become certified.

The whale paint job was voted for by over 20,000 people. Source: Seven Sharp


Tornado smashes rural American town leaving cars and buildings in ruins

A tornado slammed into an agricultural machinery plant in Iowa as some people were working and police said a number of people were taken to a local hospital.

The tornado hit in the town of Pella, about 64km southeast of Des Moines.

Pella Police Lt. Shane Cox told television station KCCI-TV that some people from the plant were taken to a hospital, but he didn't know the extent of injuries or the number of people.

Emergency responders were attempting to get inside the damaged building to see if anyone was trapped.

One of the factory's several manufacturing buildings sustained extensive damage, with metal strewn across the parking lot and across the street into a cornfield. Vehicles were overturned and piled onto others.

Vermeer spokeswoman Liz Sporrer said via email that company officials were assessing the damage.

A number of tornadoes formed suddenly over Iowa, taking weather forecasters by surprise. Several buildings and an historic courthouse were damaged in the main business district of Marshalltown.

A woman working at Hammer Medical Supply in the city's downtown said her building suffered damage, as did nearby buildings including The Orpheum, a theater built in 1948.

Additional funnels were reported as the storm moved east of Des Moines past Altoona, Prairie City and Colfax.

Alex Krull, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Des Moines, said that forecasting models produced this morning, local time, showed only a slight chance of strong thunderstorms later in the day.

"This morning, it didn't look like tornadic supercells were possible," Krull said. "If anything, we were expecting we could get some large hail, if strong storms developed."

Krull said the weather service expected a severe weather threat to remain in effect through 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. (local time) as the storms moved east and north.