By ZACHERY PER
AN Easter Sunday evening homebrew drinking binge in Gembogl, Simbu province, ended in tragedy when two revellers slipped and drowned in the Mondia River.
The duo has been identified as Peter Asue, 25, and Dini Yagl, 58.
Asue was reportedly assisting Yagl to cross a bridge when they slipped and fell into the flooded Mondia River.
Mt Wilhelm High School deputy head teacher Theodore Pagau and senior teacher Vincent Don said Asue, an alleged homebrew producer in the area, and Yagl drank excessively last Saturday.
“The two were highly intoxicated when they started their walk home, only to slip and fall into the river,” the teachers said.
Simbu provincial police commander Supt Joseph Tondop said police were waiting for the autopsy reports.
“Villagers along the river recovered the bodies some 600m downstream towards the Gembogl station,” he said.
Mr Pagau also reported a separate drowning of two small girls from Kangir village, also in Gembogl.
“The girls were attempting to cross a flooded creek when they were swept away. The bodies of the girls have yet to be found,” he added.
Mr Don reported another drowning of a baby boy in Womatne.
“The mother was carrying her baby to cross the Simbu River when she lost her balance and her baby.
“She managed to struggle to safety but the baby is still missing,” he said.
The drownings are caused by heavy rains in the northern end of the province, causing streams and rivers to burst their banks.
Supt Tondop advised riverside villagers to exercise caution when travelling in the rain, especially along the river banks.
“Except for a few unfortunate incidents, Simbu generally enjoyed a peaceful Easter weekend.
“I thank all the community leaders and church leaders for meaningfully observing Easter peacefully,” Supt Tondop said.