In memory of the late Kingsley Eroro

Today is 11th September and it is one month since the fatal crash that killed 13 people on the Airlines PNG twin otter in the Kokoda Gap.

One of the passengers was 55-year-old Kingsley Eroro, a Foreman at the Porgera minesite who was on his way for a break to see his family. He is survived by wife Grace (originally from Malo island in Vanuatu), 4 children, 2 grandchildren, his parents, 4 brothers & 5 sisters.

Like all Papua New Guineans who were touched by the tragedy, I too was; but most importantly so, because the late Kingsley and I were cousins. His mother Peggy and my late mother Ethel grew up together during the war, in my mother's village Aiive on the north coast of Oro province. Aunty Peggy's family had run away from Gona village at the height of intense fighting between the allied forces and the Japanese. They & others sought refuge in places like villages along the north coast which were basically untouched.

After the war Aunty Peggy and her family moved back to Gona. Aunty Peggy got married & so did my mother; they both named their first-born sons Kingsley. The late Kingsley Eroro was born in Kokoda where his parents had moved from the coast to settle. He attended Kokoda Primary school and then went to Popondetta High school. After Form 1V (Grade 10) he went to work at the Bougainville Copper mine where he was till the mine's closure in the mid 1980's.

The late Kingsley then returned to Kokoda with his Vanuatu bride. At home he saw that certain basic services to link Kokoda to the outside world were missing. He sought permission and successfully attained the agency for the postal services plus the Talair (third-level airline) service. This was later taken over by Airlines PNG. After several years of running the agencies and working with youth development through the church, the late Kingsley was recruited by Porgera mine in mid 1990's.

At his funeral, his brother in-law who travelled from Port Vila (Vanuatu) remembered him as a humble quiet man. He recalled a conversation with his sister Grace about what she remembered best of her late husband. He recounted the conversation - "Grace told me of one occasion when she lost her temper with Kingsley. He told the kids - "Children, why don't we go and find where Mummy has lost her temper".

In February this year the late Kingsley took his family to Malo, Vanuatu to visit his in-laws after 20 years. Maybe he felt & knew what was about to transpire a few months later.

Farewell Kingsley...may you Rest in God's Eternal Peace.



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