BARNABAS ORERE PONDROS
RICHARD Leahy, the 68-year-old pilot who survived the Cessna 185 crash last Wednesday is recovering from third-degree burns and a fractured spine in the Royal Brisbane Hospital.
He is, however, reported to be still in serious condition.
His son, Nicholas, confirmed this on Radio New Zealand and also spoke to The National.
“He’s in the trauma ward of the Royal Brisbane Hospital,” he told Radio New Zealand.
“He’s got third degree burns on 47% of his body and a fracture in his L2 spine.”
Mr Nicholas did not give an update at the time of going to the press but earlier: “Our family grieves the loss of lives. We are optimistic about our father’s condition.
“We are devastated at the loss of life and we have been busy on my father’s evacuation to a hospital in Brisbane, Australia,” he told The National.
Regarding the crash, he said: “We are unable to answer all your questions now because we simply do not have all the details.
“Please direct your questions to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).”
With the New Year vacation still on, CAA authorities could not be reached for an update of the crash.
Information from the PNG Air Services Ltd and the Aviation Safety Management is that “the air accident investigation commission of the Transport Department has been notified and will be conducting an investigation into the crash”.
Aviation safety management chief Wilson Sagati urged the media and other stakeholders to refrain from speculations on the crash and appealed for patience until the probe report.
An airline industry colleague described the senior Mr Leahy “a strong man” and wished him a speedy recovery.