An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


Two sad diasters have made the news in the last day. The first one was one of a harrowing ordeal that lasted for over two weeks. Below is the report as it appeared in the Post Courier.
Four found after harrowing ordeal
FOUR out of six people who went missing in Manus seas were found 18 days after their canoe capsized early this month.
However, two children - a boy aged nine and a girl aged seven - died of exposure after clinging on to their capsized canoe for two weeks.
Manus administrator and chairman of the Provincial Disaster Committee Wep Kanawi said the six - three adults and three children - were on their way to Mal Island from Liot Island in the Ninigo group when they met their fate early this month.
They were taking the children to school when they were hit by a big storm which caused their canoe to overturn.
Mr Kanawi said they clung to the overturned canoe and drifted on the open sea for 18 days.
Two children however died from exposure two weeks after their canoe capsized and the survivors held on to their bodies for another week, hoping to be found.
Mr Kanawi said without food and water, the four could not hold on to the bodies any longer so the two children were buried at sea. Their bodies were bound together, wrapped in heavy material and sent to the bottom of the ocean after a brief funeral service.
Last Thursday, the four people arrived on the shore of an uninhabited island, which was about 35 kilometres from the eastern tip of mainland Manus and 15 kilometres from Biti Island.
Mr Kanawi said the four were then rescued by some people who had gone fishing at the island.
He said the survivors had drifted for 650 to 800 kilometres in rough seas and windy conditions for 18 days.
The four survivors were now recovering in Lorengau hospital after being treated for hypothermia and skin problems.
The second one only happened on Tuesday. I cut and pasted the report as it appeared in the New Zealand Herald but it is also on the front page of today's Post Courier.
Two New Zealand pilots have died in a plane crash in western Papua New Guinea.
The two men were flying a Twin Otter aircraft with 11 people on board when it crashed in Star Mountains.
The pilots were working for the Mission Aviation Fellowship which today named them as Richard West, from Auckland and Chris Hansen, from Rotorua.
A spokesman for the fellowship, Rick Velvin, said both men were married with children and their families were in Papua New Guinea.
Mr Velvin said the ten passengers and one other crew member on the plane were not seriously hurt.
They were all Papua New Guinea nationals, he said.
TVNZ reported that the plane crashed as it approached an airstrip in bad weather.
The mission's general manager in Papua New Guinea, Mike Jelliffe, said the deaths of the two pilots had rocked the community.
"We weren't able to receive identification of fatalities until late yesterday afternoon.
"It has a huge impact on us. We are operating out to many of the rural communities and the communities are in shock as we are," Mr Jelliffe told NZPA.
The crashed aircraft was based in the western area of Papua New Guinea.
Mr Jelliffe said the mission was now concerned with maintaining a service to the people in the area and would re-evaluate its entire programme.
"We are setting up processes to debrief our staff today."
He said staff would be offered counselling and support and special arrangements had been made for the families of the dead pilots, who had yet to be named.
There is a reason that I am mentioning these stories here. It is because they are both things that I have done in the last six months. I took a banana boat in Manus on that week long trip and mum and me flew with MAF, in the same type of plane - a twin otter - when she was over. I even suspect that one of the guys who was co-piloting on that trip is one who was killed, Chris Hansen.

These are the images that are appearing on today's Post Courier front page. The guy on the right was (I think) the one who piloted us in the Eastern Highlands.

It just goes to show again how easily it can all end. I am not one to question my own mortality, why bother doing that - I believe if your time is up it is up - but this has still brought it home that we are not immune to danger.

My Top 10 list hasn't changed. Though I was thinking of changing my plans for Easter to climb Mt Wilhelm again, instead of flying to Teptep. Not because I want to avoid flying with MAF, but because of the logistics of getting there, and the fact I don't want to use up some of my holidays just yet. Will save the Teptep trip for when someone comes and visits.