By Vasinatta Yama – EM TV, Port Moresby
While most city residents were fast asleep, thousands of Hela men, women and children in Port Moresby flocked to Jacksons Airport to farewell their late Governor, Anderson Pawa Agiru.
Many went as early as 1am this morning, hoping to secure space on the chartered planes booked to take the body of the late governor home.
Airport staff and security said it was the first time they have seen such a population arriving very early in the morning at the airport.
All corners of the airport were tightened with security guards, police, and PNGDF soldiers. Unauthorised persons were not allowed to go into the terminal.
Only a show of their tickets granted them access to the check-in area.
Hours before the body of the late governor left for Southern Highlands province, angry citizens began screaming and fighting for a chance to get on board the chartered plane.
According to airport staff, 12 planes were chartered, however, seven were cancelled for unknown reasons.
Four chartered planes left for Southern Highlands and Hela yesterday. One, an Air Nuigini Fokker 100, left this morning.
After sorting out the boarding passes for those entitled to travel, the remainder were issued to the public.
The late Agiru’s body departed from the Defence Hanger at ATS.
All regular Air Niugini flights to Southern Highlands and Hela have been cancelled both yesterday and today, but will resume tomorrow.
Those who could not travel became rowdy, and were dispersed by police.