PM, 4 others stuck in airport elevator

National, Normal

PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare was caught trapped in a lift for 10 minutes last Friday as workers rushed around trying to open the lift at the Jackson International Airport.
Sir Michael had farewelled visiting Indonesian president Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife, Ani, and the Indonesian delegation.
Sir Michael was with Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Abal, Internal Security Minister Sani Rambi and Provincial Affairs Minister Job Pomat.
Dr Yudhoyono was given a red carpet farewell and a guard of honour by the PNG Defence Force as he was escorted by Sir Michael and his ministers to the Garuda Indonesia Airbus.
Sir Michael then returned to complete the formalities and advised ministers and departmental heads of a short meeting and refreshments at the VIP lounge.
He was driven out, after being given a PNGDF 21-gun salute, to the main entrance of the international terminal.
All other ministers and departmental heads walked up the stairs and when the PM did not arrive on schedule, the alarm was raised and it emerged that Sir Michael was stuck in the lift.
The PM came out of the lift sweating after almost 10 minutes, and was evidently not very happy.
Chief executive officer of CAA Joseph Kintau has written an explanation note to Civil Aviation Minister Don Polye, stating that the failure was due to the lift being overloaded.
Mr Kintau said the lift was operational, checked and rechecked before the arrival of the Prime Minister.
“The staff members of National Airports Corporation sincerely apologised for this very unfortunate incident,” Mr Kintau said.
Sir Michael was accompanied by Air Niugini customer services manager Jack Pidik, his bodyguard and another person when they got stuck in the lift.