Lightning kills two

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Two people from Hula village, Central, were struck dead by lightning last weekend near Fisherman Island in Port Moresby.
Kolema Augerea, 38, and Numa Kulu, 16, both from the Poerupu clan, Hula and long time residents of Fisherman Island were killed instantly when lightning hit them as they were heading home from Koki market after selling their fish last Saturday during the heavy rain.
According to Allan Augerea, the dinghy’s skipper and husband of one of the victims, the team of seven people, two males and five females were about 5km away from the shores of the island when lightning repeatedly struck them and killed his wife and nephew.
“There were multiple burns on their bodies as if fire had burn them,” Augerea recalled.
“We were rushing to go home because of the rain but the lightning caught us unexpectedly,” he said.
Augerea said despite the deaths, they managed to dock safely at the island and unload all their cargoes and then rush the victims to Kila police barracks where they were taken to the hospital.
The victims, however, were pronounced dead on arrival at separate hospitals.
The deaths followed a similar death two weeks earlier on the island where 19-year-old Jerold Tauwigaga was struck death by lightning while out fishing.
 The deaths came amidst numerous warnings by National Weather Services (NWS) office earlier this month to coastal villages and boat operators to take extra-precautions due to the La Nina season and the effects of Cyclone Yasi that ravaged parts of North Queensland late last month.        
A doctor at the Pacific International Hospital’s accident and emergency wing confirmed that the hospital received casualty killed by lightning last Saturday but declined to comment further, saying the doctor who was on duty that day would be the appropriate person to speak to. 
In the meantime, families of the victims were in mourning at Kila police barracks and are appealing to relative and friends to visit them and plan the funeral activities.