By LULU MARK
A MAN, his wife and their two-year-old baby girl were found buried alive – huddled in an embrace – in a landslide in Kimbe town’s Aling settlement yesterday morning.
The landslide, trigged by hours of continuous heavy rain in West New Britain (WNB) and an earthquake, buried the house of the family of three between 1am and 2am.
Rescuers dug through the earth and rubble later in the morning to find the tragic victims huddled in an embrace – the man with his arms around his wife who held on to her daughter as if to protect her.
Acting commander Sr Insp Daniel Yangen said police had identified the dead as Moses Kela, wife Mary Ipiri Moses and daughter Melissa Moses.
Kela was from Tambul Nebilyer’s Kumbaga village in Western Highlands and his wife was from Ialibu’s Pare village in Southern Highlands.
He said according to police and disaster office reports, the landslide occurred in the early hours of the morning.
“It had been raining since last year,” he said. “The landslide was reported to have been caused by an earthquake between 1am or 2am during a heavy downpour.”
Snr Insp Yangen said relatives, friends and villagers helped dig through the muddy soil and debris to try and save the victims but they were already dead when found,” he said, adding that floods had also hit food gardens, damaged roads and bridges.
“It is unsafe for dinghies and small boats in the seas around WNB. There were two fatal car accidents and two serious traffic accidents in the past 24 hours.”
He said two of the cases involved drink-driving and the other two were caused by the rain and wet roads.
Sr Insp Yangen advised the public and road users to take extra precautions and observe more caution when on the roads.
“We urge drivers to put on their lights, double beams and use horns to avoid traffic accidents.” he said.