Alcohol, speed linked to PNG Highlands road deaths

8:35 pm on 9 August 2016

Papua New Guinea police say eight people died in two road accidents in the same area of the Highlands on Sunday.

Papua New Guinea's busy Highlands Highway.

Papua New Guinea's busy Highlands Highway. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

The Eastern Highlands provincial police commander Superintendent Alex N'Drasal said in the first incident, seven people died while two were critically injured when their van veered off a bridge and into a creek in Daulo district, Eastern Highlands.

He said initial police investigation revealed that alcohol was involved and that the vehicle had been travelling at high speed.

Also on Sunday in the same area, the driver of a container truck died instantly after his vehicle went off the road, with the steering wheel understood to have locked.

The newspaper, The National, reports that following the road deaths, Mr N'Drasal appealed to the people of Eastern Highlands to make wise use of money earned from the coffee industry in particular.

"Do not buy alcohol. Save up for school fees and other useful purposes during this coffee season," he said.

The policeman warned drivers to be careful when approaching dangerous portions of the Highlands Highway such as at Kassam Pass and Daulo Pass.