Family escapes death from falling tree

Lae News, Normal

The National, Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A MAN from Butibam village in Lae, Morobe, and his family narrowly escaped death after a huge mango tree fell on their house while as they slept early on Sunday.
Bogan Hasu, in his 60s, who is regularly seen around town, had his neck pinned to the ground by branches from the mango tree while son Mathias, wife Nellie, and children Sonia, six, and Brian, 14 months, had their home’s corrugated iron roof and tree branches and leaves piled on them.
“I can not believe I can stand here talking like this, I could have been dead,” Mathias, the second of Hasu’s five sons, said.
Mathias said the tree fell at 2am while the family was asleep.
He said the house his father had built in the 1960s did stand a chance in front of the tree.
The 2m stilt, three-bedroom house was smashed to the ground, with an impact that could be felt by neighbours several metres away.
Mathias said as the house was going down he jumped to protect his two children and wife. 
He said after the house and the tree hit the ground they were thrown around.
“After all had quieted down, I pulled myself out of the rubble and started searching for my family with my heart pounding.”
He said he heard his son crying and knew he was alive.
He said they had to cut away branches that pinned his father, Bogan, to the ground.
Only Mathias and his wife Nellie suffered minor scratches.
Mathias, who is in his 30s, and is the second born of five boys, Paul, Brian, Gelam and Yakising, who were all born and brought up in that house. 
Their father, from Butibam village and their mother, Sarah, from Naruapum in Markham Valley, have lived in the house all their lives.
Their father Bogan went to school with prominent people like former Morobe premier Utula Samana, New Ireland governor Sir Julius Chan and the late Paul Pora. 
Bogan was an educated and hardworking man until 1982 when he suffered a mental breakdown.
He now walks around aimlessly in Lae’s business district.
His family is calling for help to rebuild Bogan’s house.