By ISAAC NICHOLAS
PRIME Minister Peter O'Neill has announced the national government's commitment of K500,000 towards the repatriation and funeral of the 28 passengers killed in the Airlines PNG crash near Madang, The National reports.
"The government is committing K500,000 for evacuation and funeral.
"The government will do everything possible to ensure we transport them back to their villages to be given the respect they deserve with a decent burial," O'Neill said.
He also promised to ensure legislations were tightened to ensure such air accidents were not repeated.
"We will work closely with the airlines to ensure safety standards are maintained.
"The government remains committed that safety standard is maintained at the highest level," he said.
O'Neill visited the crash site yesterday.
The government delegation included Civil Aviation Minister Puri Ruing, Madang Governor James Gau and Prime Minister's chief of staff Ben Micah.
They travelled by the Falcon jet to Madang yesterday morning before taking a 10-minute helicopter ride to the crash site.
O'Neill led the wreath laying on the propellers of the aircraft.
A one-minute silence was observed before he asked Micah to end the solemn occasion with a prayer for those who lost their lives.
"Terrible," O'Neill said after taking into account the enormity of the crash scene when he walked through the crash site.
"It is history for this country to have such a big loss of lives in a single plane crash," he said.
He said his visit to the crash site was to pay his respect to the victims and also to personally pass on his thank you and appreciation on behalf of the government to the villagers who helped saved four lives and removed the bodies.
O'Neill attended a memorial service at the Divine Word University where he personally met the grieving students who lost their family members on the ill-fated flight.
He told the service of his visit to the crash site which he said was by far the biggest loss of lives in the country's 36 year history.
He thanked the Divine Word university community, public servants, Australian air investigators and Australian Federal Police for their quick response to assist PNG.
He later visited the Modilon General Hospital where he met staff and management.