Don’t blame the pilot, say plane crash victims’ kin

Lae News, Normal

RELATIVES of the victims of last month’s tragic aeroplane crash in Boana, Morobe province have slammed their relatives and Morobe Governor Luther Wenge’s media outburst against pilot and airline owner Richard Leahy.
Relatives who came from Baindoang, Bombom, Karau, Kasanombe and Mo’oom villages to mourn the dead said Mr Wenge’s outburst as “emotional bearing self interest and meaningless” to gain political mileage “without the consent of the relatives”.
Mr Wenge, who is a first cousin of the mother who perished with her three daughters and two grand children, has called for the arresting, charging, and deportation of Capt Leahy.
“The accident was waiting to happen,” said Mega Naio, father of one of the deceased Jacinta.
Jacinta was with her aunt Dambi Kindi and her daughters and grandchildren on the fateful flight.
 “Capt Leahy dedicated and risked his entire life flying over the Finisterre and Sarawaged ranges for more than 30 years,” he said.
“Capt Leahy committed himself in the name of providing services to remote hinterland
Nawaeb and Kabwum districts.”
Mr Naio said it was time Mr Wenge and Nawaeb MP and Public Accounts Committee chairman Timothy Bonga improved road services or “purchased an aeroplane and improved rundown airstrips to link the areas to the outside world”.
“It was Mr Leahy who solely ventured into small airstrips providing services to improve livelihood of inland communities,” he said.
He flew into rundown airstrips like Kasanombe, Baindoang, and Zinange in Nawaeb and Teptep, Lowai and Sapmanga in Kabwum.
“The plane has crashed and we are left without any means of receiving services,” said another relative.
“We are praying for the recovery of Capt Leahy; but are still in the dark whether he will return to provide us services again.”