Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Prime Minister visits crash site

PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday visited the crash site of last Thursday’s horrific air tragedy outside Madang and offered K500,000 to repatriate the bodies for proper burials, The National reports.
Brother and sister John Paul and Paula Matlam in the company of Prime Minister Peter O'Neill at Madang's Divine Word University yesterday. They lost family members in the Airlines PNG Dash 8 aircraft disaster last Thursday.-Nationalpic by JAYNE SAFIHAO

The repatriation of bodies, however, will have to await DNA testing by an Australian forensic team to establish the identities of the deceased as most bodies had been burnt beyond recognition.
The team was yesterday briefed and set up office within the Madang hospital grounds to begin work today.
They are to take blood or mouth swabs from relatives to establish DNA matches with the bodies of the dead.
In selected spots in many parts of the country, the traditional haus krai, or places of mourning, had been set up for friends and relatives to gather and express their grief for the 28 who perished.
Meanwhile, the sole supplier and distributor of fuel, InterOil, declared yesterday that the fuel was not contaminated as suggested in media reports.
General manager Peter Diezmann said the company undertook the testing immediately after the crash to determine whether its fuel were contaminated but after further comprehensive testing, CASA cleared the fuel operations.
Bad fuel has also been ruled out by the PNG Accident Investigation Commission chief executive officer David Inau.
A team also arrived yesterday from Canada from Bombardier who manufacture the airframe and from Pratt & Whitney, the engine makers to undertake their own investigation into the crash.
Air Niugini, which flies Dash 8 in its own fleet, continued its operations after doing its own investigations and after receiving assurances from the aircraft manufacturers that there was nothing wrong with the aircraft.
O’Neill, accompanied by Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Puri Ruing, yesterday laid a wreath at the site of the crash and attended mass at the Divine Word University where he comforted students who lost parents and relatives in the crash.
O'Neill, Madang Governor James Gau (centre) and a government official observing a minute of silence at the crash site.-Nationalpic by ISAAC NICHOLAS

The university has set up a haus krai and has established counselling services for the students affected

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