16 dead while trekking

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By BRADLEY MARIORI and PISAI GUMAR
PRIME Minister James Marape joined Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae to mourn the death of 16 people who succumbed to cold and hunger along the Sarawaget Range in Morobe over the weekend.
The mourning began on Monday, the actual date to mark the Evangelical Lutheran Church – Indagen-Orowan 100 years Miti Anniversary to honour the arrival of the first Lutheran missionary to settle in Indagen, Kabwum on Aug 19, 1919.
The celebrations included a trek by a group of people taking part in celebrations from Finschhafen to Indagen but who were exposed to weather and hunger and other difficulties.
Marape and Dadae were welcomed in silence by grieving people led by Kabwum MP Patrick Bassa. The people had rubbed charcoal and mud on their faces to show grief for at least 16 lives lost over the last week.
By last night the number deaths reported was 16.
Marape and Ministers Wake Goi (Community Development, Youth and Religion) and Westly Nukundj (Public Service) flew into Kabwum on Monday.
They joined Dadae, Lutheran head Bishop Dr Jack Urame, Bassa, retired judge Don Sawong, former Morobe governor Luther Wenge and former Nawaeb MP Gisuwat Siniwin.
Bassa said the deaths were meaningful in that the deaths underscored the hardship and high cost for air and sea transport services.
Bassa, with support of Wenge and Saonu, appealed to Marape to fund the Lae-Kabwum road to enable easier access for rural folks.
Marape promised to allocate K10 million for the PNG Defence Force engineers to begin feasibility studies and construction of the Lae-Kabwum road via Indagen.
According to The National reporter at the scene, Bradley Mariori, 16 trekkers were confirmed dead. Their bodies were still piled at makeshift shelters along the trek.
Mariori said the organising committee had yet to identify how many males and females and devise plans to repatriate the bodies to respective homes for decent burials.
Among the deaths were a pastor and three children.
Manolos Aviation chief executive Capt Jurgen Ruh said 14 people, eight on Sunday and six on Monday, were airlifted to Komba Health Centre.

4 comments

  • 16 people died on an organised tracking event.

    Bassa – this is not “meaningful Deaths”……THIS IS MURDER

    someone has to be held responsible – a decision has been taken by one or few and its resulted in 16 deaths….we need to arrest these people.

  • On behalf of the Lutheran congregation of Kol Parish (Jimi) ELCPNG Jiwaka, we pass our condolences to the immediate family and church parish, Circuit and districts for the loss. It is a sad day for us but their souls are happy with their father in heaven.

  • I am deeply express my sincere heart felt condolence to the brothers & sisters of the immediate relatives of the 16 people who unexpectedly faced these horrific accident while trekking in the mountainous ranges of Indagen/Kabwum to attend and celebrate the Lutheran Sinot.
    I salute you all for your tremendous effort to walk with faith when these untimely fate approached as hindrance by Man in Dark.
    You are the shinning stars and we will all remember you in years to come because Faith is like a burning fire that cost your lives. May God Be with you all and May your lives be rest in peace.
    To avoid these repetition of tragic accidents to happen again, three MPS of Kabum, Tewaisiassi and Finschaffen District must take lead to support the Plea made by Honorable Prime Minister James Marape said to Fund K10.Million to construct the Lae/Kabwun Road by PNGDF. I support the idea. Thank you.

  • This is really sad to read about these trekkers losing their lives just like that. Trekking is not a new thing in PNG, we have always walked in and around our bushes. How time has changed is what our people need to be educated on and this is not just the rural people but almost 80% of our population. Global warming has really changed the climate pattern, the oxygen that we breathe in is not the same as it used to be 20 years ago. The kind of food that we eat is not the same as our grandfathers / grandmothers time. These fundamental issues are not being made known to our people. Our people need to know more about these issues. Bringing development means development in every aspect life. I am now appealing to all concerned members of the parliament to see this tragedy as an eye opener to bring improved knowledge and skills on the environmental changes that is happening right before our eyes to all our people. These issues should be made known to all, from schools and right down to our communities.

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