From JOHN FOWKE
Richard Leahy (pictured) is one of the sons of the late Mick Leahy and Mick's widow, Mrs Jeanette Leahy, who has only recently retired to Sydney from PNG despite being in her late eighties.
They built up the Zenag Farm business which is a major chicken and beef supplier in PNG situated at Mumeng, halfway along the road between Bulolo and Lae. This is run by Mick's son Philip who, with Richard, has remained in PNG.
Richard has for many years operated an air charter service out of Lae (Nadzab) and is one of the most experienced pilots operating in PNG.
His plane developed engine trouble on a trip to a remote airstrip in
The plane was extensively damaged and caught fire immediately it hit the ground. The six passengers, all from villages in the area he was heading to, died.
Richard managed to drag himself out and get away from the flames but suffered a broken spine and major burns to his legs and the lower part of the body.
He is in
His son Nick - from Richard's first marriage - is looking after things in Lae and minding his small half-sister, as her mother has gone to
Richard has been flying small planes in PNG for the past 40 years. Luckily there was a helicopter in the air nearby at the time of the crash and it was able to land near the crash site and uplift Richard to Lae.