By PAUL SINGE
PMV operators from Western Highlands province stopped operating into other parts of the Highlands provinces after the nasty accident at Markham Valley on Wednesday that claimed 43 lives. They feared that relatives of those killed in the accident allegedly involving one of the coaster buses from Western Highlands would attack them in retaliation. People were talking about the accident on the streets of Goroka yesterday and blamed on Western Highlands PMV operators because they were known for dangerously driving in very high speed. Passengers killed were from Western Highlands, Simbu, Eastern Highlands and other provinces. No Western Highlands owned buses were seen at the usual Goroka main market bus stops, except those from Eastern Highlands and Simbu provinces. Relatives were reportedly queuing up at Angau Memorial Hospital morgue to identify the deceased. A village elder from Okapa district who travelled to Goroka from Laeon Wednesday said he was shocked to learn that 37 people died instantly and 19 others critically injured. Mr Kyokboi Ata said this is a tragic accident where so many people were killed. Meanwhile, Minister for Works, Transport and CAA Don Polye has passed his heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of the 40 people who lost their lives in the worst Markham road accident. He said the accident marks yet another sad day in PNG’s history and urged drivers and operators to always let common sense prevail and never compromise the safety of passengers by ignoring or failing to observe and adhere to traffic rules and regulations.