15 Apr 2008

Vanuatu death blamed on ignoring cultural ban

3:40 pm on 15 April 2008

A chief in Vanuatu says a man died because the organisers of the Nagol, or Pentecost Land dive, ignored a cultural ban not to stage the event during the first five days following the yam harvest.

Chief Telkon Watas says television cameraman Hardy Ligo died because cultural restrictions were not respected.

Chief Telkon, who is regarded as the owner of the Nagol, says he had urged the organisers to delay the event for five days.

Mr Ligo was working for an Australian film production company, Beyond Productions, which was shooting the Nagol on behalf of the National Geographic Society.

The Director of the Vanuatu Cultural Council, Ralph Regenvanu, says National Geographic and Beyond Productions were aware of the ban and used the victim to break the ban on their behalf.