Passenger Nelaho thanks his lucky star for not getting on

National, Normal


IT was fate that stopped an Eastern Highlands man from boarding the 25- seater bus from Mt Hagen that was involved in the fatal accident in the Markham Valley on Tuesday. Samson Nelaho, of Kainantu, is a Lae resident who counted himself lucky; otherwise he would have been among those who were in the bus crash that killed 43 people. On Tuesday, around 2pm, Mr Nelaho said, was waiting at the Kainantu bus stop to get to Lae after visiting his village. He said while he was at the bus stop, the ill-fated 25- seater bus arrived and parked in front of him. Mr Nelaho said some passengers from Kainantu disembarked and three people who were at the bus stop with him boarded it. He said he wanted to get on but the bus was already full so he stayed back and got on a 15-seater van that arrived some minutes later. The van was travelling behind the 25-seater bus as they descended from Kainantu, Mr Nelaho said. “When we reached Singsing creek, a highway stopover, the 25-seater sped ahead while we slowed down,” he said. It was not until after Umi bridge that they came upon the crash site, at about 5pm. Mr Nelaho said that by then, people were screaming, crying and there was blood everywhere. He said many of the people had been thrown out of the buses by the impact of the collision. “Some were trapped in the crushed buses and we tried to free them but could not so we had to leave them,” Mr Nelaho said. He said he had a digital camera with him so he took pictures of the ugly scene that appeared on the front pages of the two daily newspapers. Mr Nelaho said he had never seen anything so horrific in his life and was thankful that he is still alive