Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Report on community coverage of the crash


Dear friends,
 I am sending this report on the understanding that if I were in Australia, I would appreciate some timely and responsible input on the Kokoda crash.
 There are three investigations taking place. There are those conducted by the Australian and PNG Government.There is a third conducted by the community through the media.
 The PNG media has been most professional and caring in this matter. But they quietly print reports that give the basics to aviation in the Kokoda area.
 The investigation was started by the media in reporting villagers hearing an aircraft in the gorge. Warren Bartlett stated that the airstrip should have cone markers. This is a day time strip. He was talking of fog.
 In Post Courier today there is one letter to the editor talking of lack even of the basics in navigational aids such as cone markers and windsocks and an HF radio.
 A letter to the editor in The National refers to the need to upgrade the strip that is covered with cloud and fog more often than not. The point is made that if measures are taken to lengthen and to widen the strip with other markers put in place, the crash could have been avoided.
 All people in Port Moresby are aware of the fierce storm that hit Port Moresby on the afternoon before.
 The weather report put the storm as covering the Port Moresby / Kokoda areas. Thick cloud would have covered the area as seen on the TV weather report.
 A blog on website refers to a female pilot flying up the Eora Creek Gorge as part of her return to Port Moresby.
 We do not have to worry about community input. There is accurate insight in the street. It is valid practice for any investigation to take note of the input from media coverage.
 There is no finger pointing except criticism of Government
which is routine for newspapers. Let us hope that there is focus on command and control in decisions to fly or not to fly.
 Those of us who trek including porters are quite horrified by the crash. I meet them in the street daily.
Bruce Copeland



  1. On the second day of the crash, as the community kept its excellent coverage of the Kokoda crash, I went to work and jot down a email to a colleague in Pom who was anchoring the NBC news program. I never got to sen the email because the story was changing very quickly and the crash site landing was being cleared..and I felt, probing the one the spot eye witness report would be unfair to the grieving relatives and many others...BUT a week later whilst one way or the other I blogged on Malum's blog after another brief tok with another blogger about community knowledge relating to crime...I read Bruce Coplands comments..hence I will quickly reflect...The anchor colleague...actually interviewed a former journalist and Mayor of Kokoda town who was the community's eye witness if thats a better term t the crash site. The community leader was the first to tell of the other side of the story.. he was telling the community about the weather, the situation at the Kokoda airstrip, ..and, he talked about...the fateful flight crashing in the mountains way past the airstrip... that got me thinking..why is h saying this..obviously he and flown in and out of Kokoda numerous time an knows the normal flight paths ..so his witness report was factual...and the conclusion would be drawn from his report that...why did the plane missed its normal flight path and crash in the mountains way past the airstrip...before any investigator started his probe...this would have been a starting point...bad weather, plane crashes away from normal flight paths, ..and relatives and everyone told that preliminary findings is that ...bad weather may have caused the crash..the community and media ..linked those facts that drew that conclusion...but gain I never got the anchor to push further the angle because more visitors were already flying in or in Kokoda when the weather was so terrible as reported...
    Makalai Bell, Goroka

  2. Lessons have to be learned from this for a safer and better aviation industry in Papua New Guinea.