By Julie Badui Owa – EMTV News, Lae
The Chief Pilot of Manolos Aviation, Captain Jurgen Ruh, was not happy with the head of the Morobe Provincial Disaster Office, Charlie Masange, who ordered the leader of a local team who retrieved 11 bodies of the lost trekkers to step aside.
Ruh was able to use his own resources to airlift 11 bodies and 6 survivors who got lost along the Sarawaged Range two weeks ago, whilst the Provincial Disaster Office was still planning for the search and rescue with the Morobe Provincial Government.
On Wednesday this week, Vincent Kowang, the leader of the local search and rescue team, was confronted by the head of the Morobe Provincial Disaster Officer, Charlie Masange, who ordered the leader to step aside, asking him not to be involved in the search and rescue of the lost trekkers along the Sarawaged Range.
The CEO and Chief Pilot of Manolos Aviation, Jurgen Ruh, was also ordered to shut up after Ruh told Masange that he was wrong to tell the leader of the local team what not to do.
Two weeks ago, a team of 11 local men from Komba LLG in the Kabwum District and an officer and nurse from Manolos Aviation camped at Zamalulu near the Sarawagad Range at an altitude of 11, 500 feet above sea level to continue the search and rescue of the lost trekkers.
The trekkers were walking to Indagen for the Lutheran Church’s 100 years anniversary in Kabwum District earlier this month, however, they didn’t make it.
A member of the search and rescue team from team Manolos, Alexander Ruh, and daughter of Captain Ruh was also part of the group of 24 people who camped near the Sarawaged Range. Her job was to operate the satellite phone and to communicate the situation on the ground to Captain Ruh.
EMTV News in Lae asked the head of the Morobe Provincial Disaster Office to give his response on Wednesday at the Manolos Office in Lae, but he refused.
He said an update on the search and rescue of the lost trekkers of the Sarawaged Range would be presented this week.
So far, the search and rescue team of the local men and team Manolos Aviation, found 16 bodies with 6 survivors. 11 bodies and the 6 survivors were airlifted back to Lae by Manolos Aviation two weeks ago.