And PNG makes the Australian News again…

I’m utterly sick of sensationalism journalism.  Yes, a 7 year old girl was hit on the freeway, yes, it’s tragic, yes – the driver did the right thing – got help! Does this deserve to be on the front page of the paper – no, what about the inside page on the 2nd day… no again.  What about focusing on domestic violence, what about focusing on car-jackings, what about focusing on crimes against Papua New Guineans.  It is very hard to be balanced, when balance has flown out the window.  At the moment, Jacinta is driving around Port Moresby even more shit scared in case she “bumps” someone, or has an accident.  It’s giving me the shits…

And now the report is hitting mainstream Australian papers, now people on facebook are forming a lynch mob  (and I quote)

Inhuman piece of crap!!! Negligence at its best…….That shows that this woman is insane……Lock her up at Laloki for medical treatment! She could have stopped and helped the poor girl………

But of course, there is always those in support of what has happened (also from facebook):

I was at the scene of accident and saw all these bystanders muttering and squambling and shouting, “kill that bastard, smash her car, go after her” all sorts!! She considered her life after all. Say if one of you run over someone, keep standing there and they will let you live!!! Wahaha, bloody stop attaching people given the truth we all know. I take extra care when I drive around not to run over someone. This forum is connected to all sorts of people all over the world but they keep away to comment. Some posts are real challenges to PNGeans but we ignore to get down to the real issues and comment with a sense of accepting what our country is really like. So from here, someone is run over, what will we do?

Yesterday, the Financial Institution released a statement, today the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent let the cat out of the bag and released the company name.  Now SBS is also covering the story.

So why is it that when something like this happens, all the media bash it up?  Did the ABC consider that releasing the name of the company has just put that company at risk?  Did they consider that the husband and wife may now consider not returning?  What impact does this now have on the community in general?  Is there a witch hunt going on?

And then there is the less obvious questions that have not been answered:

  • Who chased the 7 year old girl into the path of a car travelling at 60 km/hr?
  • If there were all these witnesses to the accident, why have they not produced the attacker?

As has been agreed, the first car clipped the girl – another car ran her over. Where is this other car?  Why is there not a witch hunt for this vehicle that actually ran the girl over? Did they stop?  Did they go to the police?  Did they get help?

Social media has also asked “why did they leave the country?”…  I would suggest that, given who the company is, it may not have been the choice of the individual.  It would have most likely been standard procedure.  And you really never know how someone is holding up after accidentally hitting someone on the freeway – shit, I couldn’t sleep for weeks after seeing those 2 kids getting thrown out of the back of the ute – and I didn’t even hit them…

You don’t know if the person has been the victim of attempted car jackings, or been exposed to some of the horrible things that can happen in Port Moresby.  You don’t know if they were injured in the accident.  You don’t know…

To the ABC, SBS and the Post-Courier….  You don’t know, and neither do I.

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What to do in an accident?

Today’s Post-Courier has on the front page “A mother’s grief” with the headline story about her 7 year old girl being hit on the freeway by an expatriate, who then “flew off” to Australia.

Of course, anything happening like this always has 2 sides to the story – I have semi published my own personal near-miss last year.  And I am sure that if my car was hit in the accident, I would have been in the same horrible situation as the expatriate driving the car this time around.

So what should you do?  Leave the scene, or stay and help?

The bottom line here is peoples personal safety.  I witnessed a truck crash here a couple of years ago, the seriously injured truck driver was dealt to retribution style by bystanders.  Did he deserve it?  Of course he didn’t.

What about this female expatriate, driving her car – when a young girl runs out in front of her car – and gets clipped – then is run over by another car.  What do you do?  Panic?  Or do what you have been told by all the websites, and traveler blogs, and even the New Zealand government : https://www.safetravel.govt.nz/papua-new-guinea

Should a driver be involved in or witness a road accident he/she may find themselves at personal risk as crowds tend to form quickly after an accident and they may attack those whom they perceive to be responsible. Persons involved in accidents should proceed directly to the nearest police station rather than stopping at the scene of an accident.

The Post-Courier has stated that the driver went immediately to her husbands place of work, they immediately called the police.  And if you were in a panic mode – I think that is what most people would do – unless you knew where the police stations were around Port Moresby, then you would go where you can get help.

I really feel for both the expatriate driver, the child that was hit, and the grief stricken mother.  The driver who “flew” off to Australia would have been sent immediately by her company in order to safeguard any form of “pay back” as well as to help her with the significant mental issues you have after being in an accident like this.  The child of course – is now badly injured, and the medical system here in PNG will struggle with yet another casualty.

As far as I am concerned – yes horrible situation, but the driver did exactly what she should have done.  She went and got help!  When I saw the accident last year – we couldn’t get through to emergency services via the telephone….

I have detailed the full editorial below:

A mother’s grief by Donald Willie and Merolyn Ten

 

  •  Expat woman hits school girl in hit-and-run, flies off to Australia
  • PNG family grieves as daughter fights on in hospital

A DRIVER suspected of a hit-and-run accident that broke the legs of a seven-year-old girl has fled the country.

It is feared the young girl may be paralysed after the driver drove off from the scene of the accident.  It happened on May 7 on the Poreporena Freeway in Port Moresby as the girl was on her way home from school.  It is understood the driver – an expatriate woman – left the country the next day after the accident and without knowledge of local police.  An official familiar with the case who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Post-Courier that the woman drove to her husband’s office shocked and physically shaken by the ordeal.

The husband, who works with a financial institution in Port Moresby, reported the matter to his head of security who then alerted the city police.  His wife is yet to go to the station to make an official statement to enable the formal investigations to get underway according to the city police.  The financial institution released a statement recently say that the driver only “clipped” one of the legs of the young girl and she was allegedly run over by another vehicle.

“We understand that the girl ran in fromt of the traffic without warning because she was being chased by an attacker,” the financial institution said in a statement.

The young girl, who is recovering in the hospital, told this newspaper that she recalls the driver of the white vehicle being a woman.  When asked by this newspaper why she was quickly flown out of the country, the financial institution said the advice the family was given at that time was for her immediate relocation due to significant risks of revenge attacks.

Meanwhile the young girl, who was identified as Sarah Kevin, has been hospitalised for over a week.  Her family has been advised that she is urgently in need of surgery to insert steel plates into her right leg, which was crushed in the accident.

Aussie Federal Police assisted immediately at the scene (as per the photos in the Post-Courier) and given the tone of the newspaper article then I wouldn’t want to come back if I was the expatriate driver.

All of this is concerning for us as expatriates, it seriously impacts our thought processes as we could easily become victims too.  I really feel for everyone involved – and bloody glad it was not my wife nor me.  We are not here to deliberately hurt anyone, we are not here to be a menace to society – we are here to help and give; our time, our knowledge, our energy.  Oh – how it can go pear shaped in a heart beat… 😦

and what we forget here – is that accidents do happen, and it could easily happen to you or me.  It could easily escalate out of control…  In fact, the area where the accident happened is a known spot for troublemakers, with people being attacked in the early hours of the morning, and rocks being thrown at cars.

When in Port Moresby – you have to use your head…