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Relief plane makes emergency landing/crashes

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  • Relief plane makes emergency landing/crashes

    Two different takes on the same incident.

    PNG Defence Force plane makes an emergency landingFirmin Nanol, Port Moresby

    Last Updated: 14 hours 21 minutes ago

    A Papua New Guinea Defence Force plane, carrying medical staff and relief supplies to disease-stricken areas of Morobe province, has made an emergency landing.

    The aircraft was carrying nine medical staff and two pilots, when its landing gear failed and the front wheels broke loose, forcing it to crash land at Menyamya airstrip.

    The pilots and passengers, who were part of a team of 40 people deployed to assist in the relief operations in the remote Menyamya and Tewai-Siassi districts of Morobe province, weren't injured.

    More than 100 people have died in the province from dysentery, influenza or cholera.

    The medical supplies on the plane are said to be intact.

    Defence Force officials say the Israeli built Arava aircraft was bought 30 years ago, and had never undergone any major repairs.

    They say the aircraft will be fixed and flown back to its base.


    A PAPUA New Guinea Defence Force Arava aircraft carrying nine medical staff and relief supplies crashed after landing at Menyamya airstrip in Morobe province yesterday morning.
    The crew and passengers were unhurt and the relief supplies are safe.
    As pilot Major Albert Tagua and co-pilot Lt Nancy Wii approached the airstrip, buzzing the top of the pine trees to the grass runway, they were watched by hundreds of locals including the coordinator of the emergency task force team, Micah Yawing, in freezing conditions.
    For many, it was their first sight of the Israeli-built “gas cylinder”, as it is affectionately known by its pilots.
    When it touched down about 7am, the locals punched the air shouting, “Welcome Papua New Guinea”.
    But their euphoria was short-lived. While slowing down over the next 100m, the three-wheeler’s front landing gear broke. The wheel broke loose and the Arava went into a pelican dance, hurtling for another 20m into the turf.
    Major Tagua and Lt Wii were yesterday flown to Lae while awaiting repairs to their aircraft, while the Arava is being guarded by Menyamya police station commander Sgt Ben Miyai and assistant Cpl Kisa Arnold.
    Major Tagua and Lt Wii said there was no navigational problem. “The landing was smooth, it was structural failure,” Major Tagua and Lt Wii said.
    Major Tagua said the plane was assigned to be stationed in Lae to assist in the delivery of relief supplies to dysentery, influenza and cholera-stricken areas of Menyamya and Wasu in Morobe province.
    Major Tagua has been flying the Arava and Iroqouis helicopters of the PNGDF for the last 15 years.
    He was a member of the Green Revolution programme transporting local coffee from remote locations in Simbu and other provinces, and taking the beans to major centres.
    The plane was bought in 1982 and has served the PNGDF for last 30 years, with little attention from the Government to undergo major refurbishment, Major Tagua said.
    “And it’s high time now for the Government to replace the plane with a new one.”
    No information was available on how long it will take to repair the stricken aircraft.

  • #2
    Re: Relief plane makes emergency landing/crashes

    Menyamya mishap a wake-up call
    MAJOR Albert Tagua is no stranger to Papua New Guinea’s rough terrain, its ever shifting weather patterns and the hundreds of grassy knolls with white markers to indicate landing fields.
    For the last 15 years, the Southern Highlander has been flying Defence Force fixed wing aircraft and helicopters to all parts of the country, ferrying men, machines, medicines and agricultural produce.
    On Monday, Major Tagua was joined in the cockpit of the Israeli-built Defence Force Arava aircraft by Lt Nancy Wii as his co-pilot, to do one more mercy flight carrying medicines and medical personnel into remote Menyamya in Morobe province to battle the flu and dysentery epidemics there.
    The flight was uneventful and coming into Menyamya airstrip at tree top level was routine.
    It was while they were taxing up the grassy field that the front landing gear gave way and the aircraft had to plough a further 20 metres on its belly, giving the serious and life-threatening situation a comical aspect as if the metaphorical ostrich was literally struggling with its head buried in the grass.
    Everybody was shaken but unhurt and the medicines were safe but the poor, reliable work horse of the PNGDF for the last 30 years was left in the care of Menyamya police chief Sgt Ben Miyai and assistant Cpl Kisa Arnold.
    Major Tagua has told The National that the plane suffered structural failure. It was not navigational or pilot error.
    While Major Tagua’s comment might or might not be confirmed by investigations, he has a right to express that view for a very special reason.
    We can fully appreciate what he is saying because we, too, have been informed of what goes on, even if the PNGDF command, the Defence Council and the Finance Department will not.
    For a time now, something very unusual in modern aviation and perhaps even more than a little dangerous has been happening at the PNGDF air element. Defence aircraft engineers have been cannibalising parts of their own aircraft.
    They would take parts of grounded aircraft to keep others flying. As far as we can tell, they have been doing this to the Iroquis helicopters, the Arava and the Casa aircraft.
    The air element is forced to do this because it is not given sufficient funds for service, maintenance and parts.
    Yet the call upon this unit by the National Government is constant and unrelenting.
    When a lawyer in custody had to be spirited out of the country on a clandestine mission to the Solomon Islands, it was the Casa that was called upon to fly under cover of darkness carrying Julian Moti, without regard for whether the plane had been adequately serviced or not and for the international furore that might unfold if the foreign citizen smuggled on board were to meet with a mishap.
    It was the Casa and the Aravas that were called to give meaning to the Government’s green revolution in freighting agricultural produce from remote areas to markets. It was the boys in green too who have flown the Finance and Treasury team to all parts of the country for the Treasury roll-out programme.
    Now it is the health disaster in the Morobe, Eastern Highlands and Gulf provinces.
    Tomorrow it might be some other work of Government.
    What is amazing is that there is no shortage of money for fuel for the aircraft when it comes to Government programmes, clandestine or otherwise. Each Government department is willing to pay.
    When it comes to money for maintenance or for parts or even to re-fleet, the Government turns its back on the air element. Its priorities are elsewhere. It will even buy a K100 million luxury Falcon which can only fly to a handful of airports in PNG and mostly abroad.
    What the air element personnel could do with K100 million!
    The Menyamya incident was an accident waiting to happen. It was a matter of time. We thank God that it happened on the ground and without injury or loss of life.
    It is a wake-up call.
    The efforts put in by the air element as well as the equally suffering sea element for the force are monumental and much needed. The huge land and sea borders of the country need adequate policing to stop poachers and illegal entry into the country by aliens.
    It is time the Government stopped turning a blind eye to this very important area of need. It is a priority area and must be given urgent funding.


    • #3
      Re: Relief plane makes emergency landing/crashes

      Back to previous page | Go to the world section
      PNG defence plane in heavy landing Published: 12:54AM Thursday September 24, 2009

      Source: AAP

      ONE News

      A Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) plane carrying medical supplies for a spreading health emergency has had a heavy landing on a remote grass runway.

      None of the nine passengers and crew were injured when the PNGDF Arava aircraft landed roughly at Menyamya airstrip in Morobe Province on PNG's northwest coast on Monday.

      Eyewitnesses told PNG's National newspaper the plane had landed and while slowing down the three-wheeler's front landing equipment broke causing it to nose dive into the grass.

      No one was hurt and the plane is awaiting repairs.

      PNG is suffering its first cholera outbreak in 50 years with 16 deaths reported in remote villages from three provinces, including Morobe.

      As well scores of people have been affected by severe flu and dysentery.

      Authorities had hoped to contain the multiple outbreaks but cases are now being reported across the country.

      PNG's National newspaper on Wednesday reported 394 new cases of dysentery and influenza in Gulf Province on PNG's southwest coast.

      The paper reported the province has suffered four dysentery-related deaths and two from flu complications were reported.

      On September 10 the PNG government officially declared a public health emergency for disease-stricken areas.

      The World Health Organisation says cholera is treatable and mainly transmitted through contaminated water and food, and is closely linked to inadequate environmental management.