Bishop of Bereina prays for victims of parish chartered flight
22 SEPT 2014. Bishop RochusTatamai of Bereina expressed his heartfelt condolences and prayers today for the victims of last Saturday’sHevilift air crash, which left two crew and two passengers dead near Port Moresby. “Although all the technical aspects of the incidentpertain to the air company and the authorities – Bishop Rochustold catholic Reporter –, it was our parish of Our Lady of Fatima in Woitape that chartered the flight to bring in much needed supplies; and those who died or were injured on the way back to Port Moresby were people from ourGoilala villages”. The seven passengers on board were travelling to Port Moresby for their own purposes - the bishop said. - They were not in a Church sponsored activity.
Fr John Paul Aihi, a 36 year Catholic priest, ordained in 2010also was on board the ill-fated plane, but escaped with minor injuries. “I was at the back of the 12-seat aircraft – he said in a phone call with Catholic Reporter this morning - and as soon as we came out of the clouds ,I saw the trees coming towards us. I spontaneously thought the pilot would immediately lift the plane; instead after a very few seconds we crashed.”
Bishop Rochus confirmed that the passenger who died at the crash site is Joseph Michael from the village of Ononghe and the one who died of his injuries in hospital on Sunday is Pio Mark from Kosipe village. All other passangers but one are now discharged from hospital. The final toll of the incident stands at one Australian casualty (the pilot) and three PNG nationals, including the 25 year old female co-pilot of mixed Eastern Highlands and Manus parentage.(Giorgio Licini – Catholic Reporter PNG)