Monday, September 22, 2014

Prime Minister expresses condolences following aircraft crash

The Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, has expressed deep and sincere condolences to the families of the passengers and crew of the Twin Otter aircraft that crashed on approach to Port Moresby on 20 September.
“The thoughts of the nation are with the families of the four people who lost their lives, and we pray for the recovery of the five survivors.
“To families in Papua New Guinea and Australia who are experiencing terrible grief right now, our thoughts and prayers are with you.”
The Prime Minister assured the families of those involved in the crash, and the public, that the cause of the crash will be full investigated.
“The Minister for Civil Aviation, Steven Davies, has ensured that I was briefed on the incident since soon after it occurred.
“Now the Papua New Guinea Accident Investigation Commission is working to establish the cause of this incident.
“I commend the response of emergency services and the members of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.  These personnel arrived soon after the flight went down and worked diligently to evacuate the injured, and respectfully remove those who did not survive.”
The Prime Minister asked that members of the public are sensitive to the feelings of the families impacted by the incident and do not engage in rumors particularly on social media.
“It is important that people do not jump to conclusions as to what caused the incident and as investigators undertake their analysis based on evidence.”
“I urge people on social media to be sensible and sensitive in what they post about the incident.”
PM O’Neill said as a country that relies heavily on air travel, any crash is of interest right around the nation.
“Air incidents such as this are close to the hearts of many in Papua New Guinea as we depend heavily on air transport for family and business travel.
“It must be remembered that air travel remains an overwhelmingly safe means of travel.  When an incident such as this occurs it is full investigated, and the results of that investigation are analyzed by Papua New Guinean and international experts for further action.”

Three killed, six injured in PNG air crash

Daily Mail

Three killed and six injured when pilot flying parishioners to a mission in Papua New Guinea crashed into a mountainside in 'poor visibility' 

  • The aircraft came down about 10km from Goldie, near Port Moresby
  • The Hevilift twin otter aircraft was carrying nine people  
  • The two pilots, one Australian man and a woman believed to be from PNG, died alongside one other passenger
  • A spokeswoman for Hevilift said the Australian was a 'very experienced pilot'
  • Six people survived and one is in a critical condition, all have been taken to hospital in Port Moresby
  • It is believed the plane was chartered by Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Parish in Woitape with parishioners and a pastor on board 
  • Emergency services and crash investigators are on site trying to determine the cause of the crash
  • Sources say the plane crashed into a hillside into a 'difficult to access area'

An Australian pilot has died, along with his co-pilot and a passenger, when he flew into a mountainside in Papua New Guinea after reducing altitude in poor visibility, it has been reported.
Six other people survived the crash on Saturday, although one is in a critical condition.
The Hevilift twin otter aircraft came down about 10km from Goldie, near the capital Port Moresby. Officials from the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby said they have 'grave concerns' for a man following the crash.
It is believed the plane was chartered by a Catholic parish in Woitape, with parishioners on board and a pastor among the injured. 

A Hevilift twin otter aircraft similar to the one that crashed 
A Hevilift twin otter aircraft similar to the one that crashed
A Hevilift spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia that the company 'swiftly commenced rescue operations and can confirm there are six survivors, one in critical condition'.
The passengers are being treated at Port Moresby General Hospital. 
The spokeswoman added: 'Three tragically lost their lives. 
'The company will be conducting a thorough investigation and is cooperating with all relevant authorities to determine the cause.
 
'The chartered flight was headed from Woitape to Port Moresby on Saturday morning. 
'Hevilift's thoughts and sympathy go to the families of those who have died in the crash and the company will continue to provide every assistance to the survivors.'
The spokeswoman said the Australian killed in the crash 'was a very experienced pilot'.
Efforts to recover the wreckage of the downed plane has been suspended due to heavy fog and rain on the crash site.
Plans to airlift the bodies of those killed were also abandoned and are instead being transported to Port Moresby by road, PNG Loop reports. 
The flight had been travelling to Port Moresby from Goilala district
The flight had been travelling to Port Moresby from Goilala district
The chief executive of PNG's Accident Investigation Commission, David Inau, said the cause of the crash was unknown, reports ABC
The flight had been travelling to Port Moresby from Goilala district. 
He said: 'It's too early to say until [investigators] come back from the accident site," he said.
Emergency services and accident investigators are on site trying to find out what happened. 
The Department of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said officials from the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby are urgently seeking information from local authorities regarding the crash.
'The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to the family of an Australian man who died in a light plane crash in Papua New Guinea,' the spokeswoman added.
Police spokesman David Terry told media 'details are very sketchy at the moment' of the crash. 
PNG missionary Matt Allen tweeted: 'Pray for my friends. "BREAKING: a Hevilift Twin Otter carrying up to 8 passengers has crashed 30miles from Port Morseby.'
A Catholic reporter in PNG tweeted: 'Downed plane chartered by Our Lady of Fatima Catholic parish of Woitape, Goi. Parishioners on board. Pastor Fr John Aihi among injured.'
Further tweets include: 'the pilot lowered plane due to poor visibility; immediately hit trees, terrain'.
'Survivor of Sept 20 crash: too late for pilot to regain altitude; front of aircraft smahed [sic] on the hill side and broke in the middle,' the Catholic reporter also tweeted. 
It is thought some of the people on the plane were missionaries 
A reporter from PNG tweeted that the plane was charted by Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Parish
A reporter from PNG tweeted that the plane was charted by Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Parish
Since 2000 more than 20 planes have crashed in Papua New Guinea- the lack of infrastructure makes air travel crucial to the six million residents. 
ABC reports that in July 2012, a chopper also operated by charter company Hevilift, crashed while flying from a drill rig site to Mount Hagen in the Western Highlands, killing two Australians and a New Zealander.
In one of the worst accidents, an Airlines PNG Dash-8 crashed 20 kilometres south of Madang in October 2011, killing 28 of the 32 people on board.
In June this year, the Accident Investigation Commission found that pilot error was a contributing factor in that accident.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

September 16 a significant occasion in Lae



September 16 may have been Independence Day, however, in Lae, it was also the anniversary of another significant occasion in Lae.
Unbeknown to many, it was on September 16, 1943, that Lae was taken back from the Japanese.
Along 2nd Street in Top Town, at the site of the old Lae Club commanding panoramic views of the Huon Gulf, is a plaque commemorating the occasion.
The site of the the plaque commemorating the capture of Lae from the Japanese on September 16, 1943.

The plaque commemorating the capture of Lae from the Japanese on September 16, 1943

It simply reads: “Here, on 16th September 1943, the Australian flag was raised by the Commander 25th Australian Infantry Brigade, to mark the capture of this important base from the Japanese.”
Lest we forget.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Coronation stages colourful cultural day



Coronation Primary School in Port Moresby started early Independence celebrations yesterday with a colorful cultural day with performances from throughout Papua New Guinea.
Hundreds of parents, students, and members of the public converged on the school grounds yesterday for the occasion.
Students performed dances followed by male and female representatives talking about their individual provinces.

Students from Morobe
 
These are my two sons Malum Jr and Gedi








The day went well, apart from a minor disturbance by students of Gordon Secondary School, while under the influence of liquor but police quickly attended to that.
Head teacher Julie Ulitaia said the day was a means of promoting culture from the different provinces.

Students from Gulf province







“We are gearing up for the Independence anniversary,” she said.
“Thank you to the parents who trained the students so they are able to appreciate their own culture.”
Coronation is one of the largest primary schools in Port Moresby with 1, 925 students from elementary to Grade 8.

Students from Milne Bay province











Taiwan envoy Daniel Hu leaves after 4 years in PNG



A second farmers’ training centre will be set up by the Taiwanese government at Mirigeda outside Port Moresby next year, according to outgoing Taiwan Trade Mission leader, Daniel Hu.
Hu, who left Papua New Guinea  after being here for the last four years, said the centre was one his his biggest achievements apart from the Taiwan Trade Fair, capacity-building programmes for PNG, health, and others.
Hu talking about Taiwan-PNG relations before leaving.

He said the centre would be like Taiwan’s established farmer training centre at Bubia outside Lae.
“It’s a joint project of Taiwan, Central provincial government, and Department of Agriculture and Livestock,” Hu said.
“This second training centre is like what they have in Lae.
“Our government has agreed to fund this important project which will help PNG government to build up a lot more farmers.
“Training will also be carried out for extension officers.
“The idea is to transform farmers from subsistence agriculture to semi-commercial farming.
“I consider that one of my biggest achievements.”
Hu said PNG-Taiwan bilateral relationships had experienced an unprecedented growth against all odds.
“It is reflected in the increase of trade volume from US$123.5 million in 2010 to US$355.9 million in 2013,” he said.
“This is almost a three-fold increase in trade volume between PNG and Taiwan.
“When I return to Taiwan, I will do all I can to remind our people that PNG is in a new era.
“Taiwanese are welcome to do business in PNG with fair terms.
“PNG is a rising state in the Pacific with double-digit GDP growth in the years to come.
“I believe friendship will bring me back to PNG again and again.”

This blog gains more international recognition

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

PNG's growing army of orphan beggars


My old mate, former kiap (patrol officer) and well-known coffee personality,JOHN FOWKE, sent me these observations about the growing number of orphan beggars in PNG.  I took the pictures of these street kids begging along Waigani Drive last month.

By JOHN FOWKE


Hundreds of orphan beggars roam Mt Hagen, Goroka, Lae, and Port Moresby
Five main elements of social change are believed to be responsible for the current abandonment of children: parents contracting or dying of HIV/AIDS, marriage break ups, urban drift, unemployment, and inter-cultural marriages.
Society’s rejection of orphans is quite alarming. 




Though there is awareness of orphans, yet there is no acceptance.
Someone already working with orphans recently revealed being herself over-looked, stigmatised and discriminated against for taking care of the orphans. “People call them bastards”, she said.
Two main reasons are believed to be behind the rejection of orphans in the PNG Highlands.
The first is land.
There is a land shortage.
People think that what is available should go to the biological children and not adopted orphans. Sanguma or sorcery related killings of one or both parents also negatively impact upon the children, who may be suspected of having inherited sorcery powers.
For these reasons orphans are left to fend for themselves.
When last in Mt Hagen in 2011, I became aware of a local couple , living in the squatter settlement at Warakum, husband employed, wife supporting these kids from her own pocket and contributions from local businesses which were sympathetic.
The kids got a safe place to sleep and one very basic carbohydrate meal a day, and one with protein once a week.
All on this local squatter-settlement couples initiative.
That’s the power of Christian belief, but it’s rare.
That’s life in wealthy PNG today.
My friend Patrick Killoran and a group of his friends many of whom are practising Christians were among the contributors to “ Betty’s Kids” - and this is how I learned about her.
PNG’s journey through the next few decades is one which is incredibly complex, and one which will proceed guided by fortune, or by luck, bad and good, or by those who see and care enough to be positive, even when seen to be stigmatised, as Betty says she has been.
 

Sunday, September 07, 2014

A never-ending story

I thought that yesterday, being a Saturday, traffic would be slow but vehicles were lined up bumper-to-bumper from 9-Mile to Erima. 
And we still don't know neither from contractor Dekenai Construction norNational Capital District Powes Parkop as to when the road will be completed,
 Maybe after the 2015 Pacific Games?



 Last night, after an afternoon at the cinema with the kids, the cab took the back road from Erima as traffic was chock-a-block along the main highway and it was quite scary ploughing through mud, the settlement, drunks, and those obviously high on marijuana. 
I can only imagine what could have happened if we got bogged in a quagmire, ran out of fuel, or had a flat tyre.
 There are worse stories to tell. 
This is what we have to go through every day because of the prolonged road construction between Erima and 9-Mile by Dekanai Construction,
A neighbour of mine, who happens to be one of the top civil engineers in the country, was telling me on Friday (in the long line between 8-Mile and Erima) that the NCD Commission  should have forced contractor Dekenai to speed up work on the Erima-9Mile portion of the Hubert Murray Highway instead of letting so many people suffer in silence like this every day.
 He also said us denizens of the deep could take a class action against the company for so much suffering inflicted on us by deliberate prolonged road construction. 

Painting the town red

Buai (betel nut) spit is ruining everything in this country including the brand-new road infrastructure along the Hubert Murray Highway between 9-Mile and Erima. 
Every second vehicle has people spitting buai pekpek (betel nut shit) and running the new roads, pavements, road signs, everything. 
Buai skins line the road. 
Oh well, I supposed we're painting the town red for the 2015 Pacific Games and APEC 2018 (I don't know how we got this honor when we're so filthy).
 It goes without saying that this country will never change, despite all the "LNG money" because we can't change our useless habits like buai
My solution: Buai chewers should be forced at gunpoint to swallow what they're chewing so that it becomes real "buai pekpek" and paints their asses red,