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Crash photographer thanks his lucky stars for missing PNG death bus

A police officer at the scene of the head-on bus collision in the Markham Valley. Photo: The National

Pacific Scoop:
By Doreen Poloh Waim in Lae

Fate stopped an Eastern Highlands man from boarding the 25- seater bus from Mt Hagen that ended up as Papua New Guinea’s worst bus accident in the Markham Valley on Tuesday.

Samson Nelaho, of Kainantu, is a Lae resident who counted himself lucky – he could have been among 43 people killed in the crash.

Angau Memorial Hospital staff are still awaiting two more freezer containers to be brought to the morgue to help with store the bodies from the crash.

Morgue supervisor Welong Windy says the freezer is filled to capacity. As well as the crash victims,  the freezer is also accommodating six bodies from a plane crash and eight prison escapees who were shot.

Nelaho says on Tuesday, around 2pm, he was waiting at the Kainantu bus stop to get to Lae after visiting his village.

While he was at the bus stop, the ill-fated 25- seater arrived and parked in front of him.

Nelaho says some passengers from Kainantu disembarked and three people who were at the bus stop with him boarded it.

Already full
He wanted to get on but it was already full so he stayed back and got on a 15-seater van that a few minutes later.

The van was travelling behind the 25-seater bus as they descended from Kainantu, Nelaho says.

“When we reached Singsing creek, a highway stopover, the 25-seater sped ahead while we slowed down,” he says.

One of Samson Nelaho's pictures of the crash published in the The National.

It was not until after Umi bridge that they came upon the crash site, about 5pm.

Nelaho says that by then, people were screaming, crying and there was blood everywhere.

He says many of the people had been thrown out of the buses by the impact of the collision.

“Some were trapped in the crushed buses and we tried to free them but could not so we had to leave them,” Nelaho says.

Nelaho had a digital camera with him so he took pictures of the ugly scene and some were published on the front pages of both daily newspapers, the Post-Courier and The National.

Nelaho says he has never seen anything so horrific in his life and is thankful he is still alive.

Source: The National

40 killed in ‘horrific’ head-on PNG bus crash
Café Pacific’s comment on the tragedy

1 comment:

  1. Nancy nahi, 17. January 2010, 21:20

    I am from PNG,my family is from Kainantu and they live in Lae and so worried upon reading this horrific tragedy but I have never seen such a horrifying crash. I pray for the souls of this people who lost there lives. Just its not one of my family members.

    I live here in Dunedin ,NZ far from home and bit worried.