The girl, believed to be seven years of age, was in their makeshift haus kuk when the crane overturned next door and crashed through the Lae Biscuit compound and onto the roof of the haus kuk, allegedly landing on her back.
Delos St resident, Priscilla James, said the shocked child managed to crawl out through a space in the debris.
“Em kamaut lo displa liklik houl lo hapsait ya,” she said, pointing to a narrow opening. “Ol ting nogat wanpla pikinini insait bat i gat pikinini i stap. Haus eria blo mipla. (She came out of this little hole on the side. They thought there was no child in there. This is our residential area.)
“Ol no tingim seifti blo neibahud blo ol tu. Em kam insait…krein ya em longpla tumas. Mipla bin poret olsem bai eksident, em bai pudaun. Go go na disla samting drop kam daun.” (They did not consider their neighbourhood’s safety. When the crane came in, it was too long. We were dreading an accident and sure enough, that thing dropped down.)
James said the girl was taken to the hospital yesterday and was give seven days of bed rest. She was brought to the hospital today again for further scanning.
Property manager of Premium Builders, Peter Andita, did not take too kindly to the media’s presence near the site of the incident, saying the company’s name would be tarnished. However, he agreed to give their side of the story when he was presented the opportunity.
Andita said Papuan Compound was a notorious crime zone until they came in and developed the place. After building the PNG Toner and Inks Supplies, lifting property value in the process, they had moved on to the opposite side of Citos St to construct an office rental space when the incident happened.
“The accident that happened yesterday, ino feilia blo husait. By accident, opereita ino bin putim gut sapot blo krein go gut na em stap nating long graun na em apim. (The accident that happened yesterday was not anyone’s failure. By accident, the operator did not properly put in the crane’s support and it was just on the ground when he lifted it.)
“Em apim so graun ya i sink go daun na em wansait i kam daun na em kam pudaun ya. But it’s lucky that ino gat wanpla manmeri kisim bikpla bagarap. (He lifted it and the ground sank in, resulting in it overturning. But it’s lucky that people did not get seriously injured.)
“Na wanpla pikini tasol i stap insait na em i wanem ya, bat em go lo haus sik kam bek.” (Only a child was inside when it happened but she went to the hospital and came back.)
Andita, who had been continuously waving off concerns about the girl’s wellbeing, said they will hold dialogue with the affected family and resolve the issue, along with the damaged properties.
He further said they had received approval from the Lae City Authority and the Morobe Provincial Physical Planning Board to convert the residential area into a commercial zone.