By GABRIEL LAHOC
PASSENGERS of a PMV van bound for Madang province yesterday morning survived a crash in Lae.
Witnesses said a tyre came loose and the driver lost control at 8-Mile, causing the van to hurtle into a drain.
The passengers could not believe that their van had flipped over and landed on its roof.
The incident occurred around 10am just before the Catholic church’s City of Joy estate.
Passengers were seen with bruises and scratches.
They said an elderly man was rushed to Angau Memorial Hospital with bleeding from cuts to his head.
Some passengers lost some of their possessions in the confusion after the crash when locals came to their aid and pulled them out.
Madang-bound Maritime College students Pesto Rengi and Russell Willie said they noticed that the bus was wobbly at 3-Mile and raised their concerns with other passengers.
Some questioned how the driver could not tell that there was a problem with the vehicle when the passengers could.
Unitech staff Kiking Babun, accompanied by his two young daughters Evelyn and Maipi, also told of their horrifying experience.
He said that drivers were still ignoring warnings even with the current major awareness by Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited.
Some of the passengers also claimed that the van was overloaded, which has become the norm in most PMVs travelling the Highlands Highway.
“With the bus packed to capacity, our bus-crew was the extra passenger hanging on between the sliding door and the first passenger near the door,” Mr Rengi, who suffered from a wound to his right elbow, said.
Mr Babun agreed that the Government should be strict with highway motorists and impose stiffer penalties for breaching traffic rules.