BARNABAS ORERE PONDROS
FIVE months ago, the Hiritano Highway crash made headlines, but since then nothing has been disclosed by the police or Transport Department as to the cause of the crash.
However, a reliable source told The National that driver negligence had caused the crash, which claimed 17 lives.
“As a result of the police investigation, it has been revealed that both vehicles were speeding and the driver of the offending vehicle and passengers were under the influence of alcohol,” the source said.
The May 30 crash was described as the “worst-ever road accident” in recent times, in which two passenger trucks collided near Bereina in Central province, about 100km west of Port Moresby.
Fourteen passengers and the two drivers died instantly in the accident, and a young boy died later from severe internal injuries at the Port Moresby General Hospital.
Until today, the grieving relatives have no answers to their questions, as to what caused the crash.
The source pointed out that the police investigation was separate from Motor Vehicle Insurance Ltd (MVIL) and National Road Safety Council (NRSC), who were assumed to be conducting separate investigations.
He said: “This information was not a result of an MVIL investigation but of a police investigation.”
The source could not say if there was a timeline for the police investigation, but stressed it was important for investigations to be done quickly and disclosed to assist agencies such as NRSC to create awareness on road safety issues.
“This as a police investigation and we can only prefer to let that course of action take place in its entirety before making any comments,” he said.
Shortly after the crash there were different views as to the crash with many pointing out drink driving and driver negligence and others, mainly relatives, leaning towards road conditions.
“So at this stage, any comment they would look to make in the future would be contingent and most like after the proper findings being aired from a police perspective,” he said, referring to relevant agencies, such as NRSC.
Attempts to get in touch with Central and NCD Police Commander Awan Sete were unsuccessful.
Likewise, the Transport Department did not respond to e-mails and telephone messages.