Air Niugini repatriates body of Indonesian crash victim

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Papua New Guinea’s national carrier is repatriating the body of an Indonesian man who died when one of its airplanes crash landed in Micronesia.

Air Niugini said that on Sunday, it flew the body of Eko Cahyanto Singgih from Chuuk state in Micronesia where PX73 crashed into the sea just short of the runway eleven days ago.

Local fishermen with small boats combined with a US navy team to rescue most of the 47 passengers and crew from the 737 before it sank.

Divers found the man’s body in the lagoon several days later.

Before his body was flown to PNG, Federated State of Micronesia government officials attended a dawn farewell ceremony.

From Port Moresby, the man’s body is to be flown to his family’s village in Java, via Singapore.

The incident is being investigated by aviation and accident officials from PNG and the US.

Air Niugini said a specialist team accompanying the body throughout the entire repatriation journey include some of its Indonesian employees tasked with assisting the family of Eko Cahyanto Singgih.

Earlier, airline reps attended the Chuuk dawn ceremony, where prayers preceded a minute’s silence, led by the Governor and Lt Governor of the State.

Air Niugini said its staff also attended memorial events at the crash site in the Chuuk lagoon and the hospital where injured passengers are being treated.

It said similar memorials were observed by all Air Niugini staff throughout all its various offices in PNG.

The Deputy Chairman of Air Niugini Board, Andrew Nui wished a quick recovery for those passengers being treated in hospital for their injuries.

Mr Nui thanked both local islanders on Chuuk and the US Navy team who went out into the lagoon to assist passengers and crew.

“Their courage and quick thinking helped save lives and our thanks and gratitude goes out to all of them,” Mr Nui said.

Meanwhile, Air Niugini moved to reassure its safety commitment to its customers.

In adherence to the International Air Transport Association’s Operational Safety Audit, following the accident Air Niugini has undertaken a full risk assessment review of the Chuuk to Pohnpei route.

It said that having completed that safety review, flights would continue using both its Boeing and Fokker aircraft.

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