The National, Friday 30th December 2011
By JAYNE SAFIHAO
ALL but two bodies of the 28 people who died in a tragic airplane crash in Madang on Oct 13 have been released to relatives.
The two bodies are those of Miria Renagi, from Yule Island, 100km northwest of Port Moresby, and Ribuara Rabura, from Kilakila village in the nation’s capital.
The Airlines PNG Dash-8 airplane, en route from Port Moresby via Lae, crashed on its approach to Madang.
The aircraft broke up on impact and a fire broke out in a part of the fuselage.
Four people on the flight, including the Australian captain Bill Spencer, 64, and New Zealand first officer Campbell Wagstaff, survived the crash along with a passenger from Malaysia who suffered severe burns to his back and hands as he fled the burning wreckage through a crack in the fuselage. The fourth survivor was one of the cabin crew.
Modilon General Hospital medical services director Dr Billy Selvi said the body of Sidy Abore was identified a few days after the crash and released.
The other bodies were identified through DNA testing as a result of the severe burns most victims suffered.
Selvi said most of the relatives of the victims were very cooperative and understanding when claiming their loved ones “knowing the condition the bodies were in”.
Selvi said the airline had been cooperating with relatives of the deceased in donating coffins.
He cleared the air on the K450 deduction by Divine Word University on the payment of coffins as reported in The National early this month.
Selvi said the announcement on the deduction had been made because there was no clear indication by the airline as to who would pay for the coffins in the beginning.
Most of the passengers were reportedly parents travelling to attend their children’s university graduation ceremony in Madang.