By JAMES APA GUMUNO and YVONNE HAIP
FOUR people and a baby girl were killed and more than 20 others injured in separate road accidents in Western Highlands province yesterday.
Four, including two elderly men and a mother of the baby girl, died when a 25-seater bus plunged into a ravine at a bend on Paia Kona in the Upper Nebilyer district about 7am.
Many passengers were admitted to Mt Hagen General Hospital and Kudjip Hospital in serious condition.
In Baiyer, a Dyna truck overturned, killing a man and seriously injuring several others who were also on their way to Mt Hagen city.
Mt Hagen’s accident and emergency ward was crowded yesterday.
Nine people were admitted to the surgical ward, one woman in the intensive care unit (ICU) and more than 10 were treated at the accident and emergency ward.
According to a hospital source yesterday afternoon, many passengers sustained minor injuries and were treated and discharged.
The source said those admitted in the ward were all in critical condition with broken bones and internal injuries.
“The woman in the ICU sustained internal injury affecting her spinal cord,” the source said.
Mt Hagen Metropolitan Commander Chief Insp Peter Roari said: “The death toll is likely to increase because many passengers were seriously injured in the accidents.
“Many of the injured were admitted and treated at Mt Hagen General Hospital while others were sent to the Kudjip Nazarene Hospital.”
He said Mt Hagen General Hospital’s accident and emergency ward were crowded yesterday morning and it was very difficult to tell who were the Baiyer accident victims and who were from the bus accident.
Insp Roari confirmed that four people including an infant were killed in the bus crash and a man died in the Baiyer accident.
He said police traffic officers were investigating both accidents to determine their cause.
“We don’t even know yet whether the drivers of the bus and truck survived the crashes,” Mr Roari said.
“We are trying to identify them.
“It’s the worst road accidents in the province in the new year.
“The remains of the dead are in the hospital mortuary,” he added.