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…
I completely agree with everything you’ve said. Yes, if you were back home, and you hit a child on the street, you would absolutely stop and make sure the child had immediate assistance. We left PNG six years ago, and back then, one of the guys that my husband worked with accidentally run over a child driving home in the dark. He was a Papua New Guinean, so didn’t have the luxury of fleeing the country. Instead, he was told to go home and to lock himself in his house in Boroko. A call then went out to every employee in the company to leave company branded vehicles at home, and to avoid public places. We were at the yacht club at the time, and it was a massive deal. Gangs of locals were going around targeting anyone from the company in some sort of retribution attack. At the end of the day, it was an accident – pure and simple. The man was not inebriated. He wasn’t speeding. A child just ran out in front of him, and he didn’t have time to stop. Tragic, yes, but not worthy of losing other lives as a result.
Then you have the other aspect that expatriates have to beware of – children being deliberately used to target ‘compassionate’ expatriates. It happened to my husband’s boss while we were over there. He did not hit the child, but drove by and noticed what looked like the aftermath of an accident, with a mother crying and wailing over the prone body of a child. The CEO stopped to offer assistance, at which stage the mother and child disappeared into the bushes and out sprung a gang of raskols who then beat and robbed the unlucky Samaritan. The only thing that saved his life was the cash he had in his top pocket. When the ripped his shirt off his back and the money went flying across the road, the raskols scattered after it, giving him a few necessary seconds to get back in his car and flee. Had that not happened, who knows how the scenario may have ended.
Then there was the case where a gang of raskols/villagers knifed a man to death in the middle of the Poroporena Hwy, right opposite the Konedobu Police Station. We drove past as it was happening, and did not see a single police officer venturing out of the police station.
Given everything that I witnessed during 6 years in the country, if I hit anybody in PNG (let alone a child) I would flee the country as fast as humanely possible.
BTW, the media always tries to sensationalise these things happening.
I live in POM and was involved in an accident when a tanker ran a red light. I was knocked out and there are two sides to this both good and bad. Locals physically forced their way into my vehicle and got me out as fuel was leaking from the tanker, they took care of me until the police arrived and it was a surreal time as hundreds of people gathered. Trust me I was packing myself but couldn’t let it show. While I was being looked after, a couple of others ransacked my vehicle cleaning it out and taking my wallet and mobile. I was very lucky as I think if this had happened and I wasn’t knocked out and the car could drive, I’d be out of there and straight to the High Comm.
I do have to say, the police, traffic cops and ambulance services were excellent and I was treated as good as anywhere in the world, they did an exceptional job and went over and above taking me to PIH, staying with me and returning me to the door of my apartment, no thank you brother or appreciation payments required.
A few things from my accident;
1. Register with the High Comm
2. Have a spare PNG Mobile, in case you loose your work one with all your numbers
3. Have a PNG Wallet, luckily the wallet I carry on me in POM has only PNG cards and ID’s so I never lost my NZ cards or licences
4. Use your head, crowds will build quick, so get out or into the back of a police car ASAP. If you do drive off, get to the High Comm and contact your company to make arrangements, whatever they may be, evac, legal, etc….
PNG is a great place, just don’t do stupid things.
To all expartriates in PNG, thankyou for choosing to come stay/work/visit png. Its only a handful ill-minded, opportunitists that make PNG abit unsafe. I am sick of this hooligans who should be in the village planting kaukau than thinking they are capable of being in town. bloody ples kanakas bush samting. And for the Media papers- they are there to make money – watever cover page they feature, is to capture attention so one can buy paper. Its time the govmnt get taugh.
I am a local Papua New Guinea and love my country PNG more. Theres’ no place like home.
1. Drive safely….dont be in rush. take yor time.
2. Get a PNG driver
4. Have a close local friend you can trust
3. Never panic in accidents.
3. Go to the nearest police station.
5. call your close png friend.
6.Call yor High Comm
or should you need help, please dont hesitate to contact me in pom.
lov to help any of you any xpart wantok in trouble (firstname.lastname@example.org)