The National, Thursday June 20th, 2013
A WOMAN and her son were last Friday plucked out of the raging Ok Menga River in Western in a dramatic rescue operation by Ok Tedi workers.
The company’s emergency rescue team saved the lives of Rena Igol, 32, and her two-year-old son Igol after they were stranded in the middle of the river, the site of the mine’s hydro-power station.
They were crossing the river to return to their village from their garden when strong currents struck them midway across.
Rena, a single mother, was able to reach a huge boulder in the middle of the river with her son and managed to climb on to it before calling for help.
OTML guards and Power House employees manning the Ok Menga intake (the location of OTML’s hydropower station) immediately contacted the company’s emergency rescue team.
They, in the meantime, threw a buoy to the woman after tying the ends of a rope on either side of the river for the woman to hold on to while waiting for the rescue team to arrive.
OTML’s acting team coordinator Gilbert Hapea led a team of three security officers and three rescue officers to the Menga intake.
Hapea said it took them from 3pm to 5pm to bring the mother and son to safety.
“We conducted the rescue with no injuries to both the team and the two persons,” he said.
On the scene, a rescue officer was sent attached with a safety harness and a life jacket on ropes where the woman and her son stood.
With a spare life jacket, the woman was rescued while the OTML rescue officer brought the boy.
Previously at least three people died while trying to cross the river to reach their gardens.
In the first incident, two girls went missing, believed to have been washed away when they attempted to cross the river.