January 7, 2015

Pathfinders Escape Deadly Bus Crash in Papua New Guinea

A group of Pathfinders escaped a close brush with death when a bus overturned in front of their vehicle in Papua New Guinea as they traveled to the airport to fly to a camporee in Australia.

No Pathfinders were injured, but several bus passengers were killed, the Adventist Record reported Tuesday.

“The Kainantu Pathfinders are thanking God that their bus was able to stop in time and not collide with the overturned vehicle,” it said.

The Pathfinders were traveling from Kainantu in the South Pacific island’s eastern highlands to the city of Lae when the accident happened at around 4 a.m. The Pathfinders were 90 minutes from the airport and hurrying to catch their flight.

“But the bus behind them wanted to hurry even more and overtook them on the Highlands Highway,” the magazine said. “It seems it turned too quickly and overbalanced.”

The passing bus rolled over in front of the Pathfinders’ bus, and several passengers suffered fatal injuries when they were thrown from the windows. It was not immediately clear how many people died.

“Please pray for those injured in the bus crash, for the relatives of those who died,” the Adventist Record said.

Papua New Guinea has a poor road safety record. A bus fell off a cliff in Papua New Guinea's western highlands in April 2013, killing at least 24 people. In the country’s worst accident, two buses collided head-on about 80 kilometers from Lae in January 2010, killing 40.

A group of Pathfinders from Britain had their own close call after a camporee last August. The Pathfinders narrowly escaped a fire that destroyed their bus as they left the International Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. A tire blew out on the bus and, when the driver pulled over to the side of the highway to take a closer look, a fire quickly erupted. No one was injured.

Meanwhile, prayers are being sought for Pathfinders waiting for visas to fly to Australia for the camporee, which opened Tuesday and is the biggest hosted by the Adventist Church’s South Pacific Division. More than 8,000 Pathfinders and leaders descended on the Toowoomba Showgrounds in Toowoomba, Queensland, for the event from Jan. 6 to 11.

The Kainantu Pathfinders made it to the camporee after missing the bus crash—and they were thankful not only for God’s protection but also for the fact that they have Australian visas.

“Other Pathfinders in Papua New Guinea and elsewhere have had trouble with getting visas to Australia, an issue which is being cleared on a daily basis,” the Adventist Record said.

Related links

Adventist Review, Jan. 6, 2014: “8,000 Pathfinders Head for Australia’s Biggest Camporee”

Adventist Review, Aug. 21, 2014: “British Pathfinders Escape Bus Fire After Oshkosh Camporee”

Adventist Record, Jan. 6, 2014: “Near Miss for Kainantu”