Former PNG Navy top-gun, Reginald Renagi lost his wife Mrs. Louise Miria Renagi On the 13rd November, when an Airlines PNG Flight crashed into scrubland near the Guabe River in Madang Province. He recently travelled to the crash site to get a sense of what had happened. He now writes about his trip and the questions that remain unanswered.
The families of the 28 victims are lost and despondent. Many questions remain unanswered and there seems to be no coordinating agency dealing with the grieving families. Lets not forget these families. I am grateful to Reg for allowing me to publish his views. _ MN
I went by speed boat to the mouth of Gwabe River in the Rai Coast area to see for myself where the APNG plane crashed.
I walked with my son, nephew and his wife and brother-in-law from the beach into and for some 4 km to the crash site.
We spoke to the locals guarding the crash site. They said the plane circled about three times over the water in the bay and it was before its third round that it went up the hill about 3 or so km from the beach.
I immediately assumed the pilot was flying inland towards the mountain ranges away from the sea (Astrolabe Bay area) when he tried to make an emergency ground landing in what may appeared to be 'kunai' grassland but it was strewn with big rocks (some of small boulder-size).
A very unsuitable surface for a crash-landing to take place. The big rocks broke up the plane on impact with the ground breaking its wings hitting a tree in its path and came to a stop.
The plane went up in a big fire-ball explosion some 15 minutes later. Most of the passengers were incinerated where they sat in their seats.
It seems the pilot made a stupid decision not to have ditched in the bay for an emergency landing.
The plane would have remained afloat for over an hour or so and any fire onboard would have been put out by seawater. Moreso; the passengers would have been rescued by villages living on the shorelines of the coast.
Immediately after the air crash. The local villagers of Marakum tried to save the plane's occupants but could not do so as the fire and heat was so intense so just watched helplessly as the plane was completely burnt up along with most of the passengers.
It still gives me nightmares to imagine whether those who perished suffered much.
But I pray to God that they were already dead on impact with the ground and did not have to suffer the pain of being burnt alive by the fuel-fed fire throughout the plane’s fuselage on the ground.
WHAT CAUSED THE PLANE CRASH?
The preliminary report while not very conclusive at this stage would imply that the pilot actions could have induced a failure in both engines.
It seems to be pilot error but the airline is coy won't admit that! The pilots’ actions induced a failure in both engines.
Why didn't the pilots ditch in the water to the bay on the starboard side (right side) as the coast was nearby in front of him; not turn towards the mountains heading towards the direction of where he came from into a rough rocky terrain that killed 28 passengers except his crew.
The government should now charge the pilot/APNG with manslaughter (if not murder).
The families must be compensated by APNG for the loss of lives of 28 passengers.