Cabin crew, pilot teĺl of angry minister

The cabin crew member who was involved in the commotion on flight PX 853 with Minister Delilah Gore was called by the prosecution on Monday afternoon(June 29) to give evidence before the leadership tribunal.

And the pilot in command of that flight was also called to give evidence against Minister Gore.

Sheryl Marjen, a member  of the cabin crew and Captain Taulea Ugava who was in command of that flight gave evidence after lunch when the tribunal resumed.

Captain Ugava who had been flying with Air Niugini for 17 years said on the morning of April 24, 2014 at Girua airport, he received a call on the flight intercom from the cabin crew member after doing safety checks.

He said the cabin crew member (Marjen) informed him of a passenger who refused to switch off her phone as the plane was approaching the runway for takeoff.

He said after his assessment of the situation he turned the plane from the runway to the apron of the airport.

Ground staff including Air Niugini port manager for Girua airport Edward Ososo then entered the aircraft to speak with the passenger.

He said the Minister was later asked to leave  the aircraft as Marjen was already upset and not comfortable with Minister Gore on that flight.

Marjen when giving evidence said at that time she did not know the passenger was the member for Sohe and a state minister.

She told the tribunal that as she was checking passengers from the rear of the plane, she saw Gore still on her phone texting after the announcement was made for all passengers to switch off their electronic devices.

She said she stood in the aisle and reminded Gore by tapping her on her shoulder to switch off her phone.

“With an upset look on her face, Ms Gore told me to take my seat and called me a little girl.

“I told her that it was our company policy to switch off her phone or have her offloaded.”

She told the tribunal that Gore then shouted at her, asking if she knew who she was which Marjen responded to with a no, indicating she did not know who the passenger was.

Marjen said Gore later shouted at her to have her supervisors sack her as her approach was rude.

Passenger Morley Mirou who was seated in the same row as Gore said he heard the minister threatening Marjen that she would call the Transport Minister to get the  CEO of Air Niugini to sack the flight attendant and pilot of that flight.

The tribunal will reconvene on Tuesday morning where more witnesses will be called.  

(file picture of Minister Gore)

Sally Pokiton