Girl rescued after battling hunger, cold on Sarawaget Range

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Naomi Kayak

A GIRL, 15, was rescued by Manolos Aviation Helicopters pilot Capt Jurgen Ruh after she battled cold and hunger to live and keep her brother alive for eight days on the rugged Sarawagat Range in Morobe.
Naomi Kayak was the only survivor brought back to the Lae base, along with seven bodies from several groups who tried to trek from Finschhafen to Indagen to mark 100 years of Lutheran settlement in Morobe.
The death toll has risen to 20.
Ruh said yesterday’s trip back to Lae had six male adult bodies and a youth.
More details were expected to be released today.
Kayak, whose mother is from Indagen (Kabwum) and father from Nawaeb, was with her brother David, 22, along with 12 others from West Taraka on their way to Indagen for the celebrations.
“There were 14 of us youths from West Taraka who trekked the Sarawaget Range but along the way 10 pulled out and returned to Lae while my brother and I and two pastors continued the journey,” she said.
“The pastors left us behind as they were in a hurry to reach Indagen for the occasion. We both spent four nights along the trek battling against the cold and finding difficult to communicate, we had no food and we could not communicate properly because of the cold.”
Kayak fought back tears yesterday to say such were their condition that they could not do anything, not even being able to light a fire.
With the wind blowing and the cold getting into their bones, Naomi could not leave her brother who became weak with numb limbs.
“My brother only mumbled when I tried to communicate with him. I told him to have faith in God who would help him and as we prayed, six young people found us. When they prayed, my brother gave up his ghost.”
Naomi was met by her relatives at Manolos Aviation after getting medical assistance from health extension officer Pendek Sitong at the helipad.


  • What misplaced religious fervor drove these people on this ill-advised poorly-equipped farce through the high alpine mountains? And the pastors went ahead because they didn’t want to miss the event? Leaving two children for dead in the mountains…when will criminal negligence charges be laid on them? This reprehensible abrogation warrants long prison terms and hard labour to teach people to think and to take responsibility.

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