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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (November 12, 1999 – Post-Courier)---The removal of nuts and bolts that held the pulleys keeping the Wahgi River footbridge upright may have caused the bridge to collapse.

The bridge disaster lead to the death of one man and the disappearance of another who is believed to have drowned.

Initial reports by engineers who visited the collapsed Wahgi footbridge on Wednesday reportedly discovered there were no structural deformities.

The newly constructed footbridge collapsed on Thursday last week when it was to have been officially opened by Lands Minister and North Wahgi MP Dr. Fabian Pok.

Sources said two engineers, one a private engineer and the other from the Works Department, and Port Moresby police flew into the Wahgi area on Wednesday.

They said the team then established that the bridge did not collapse because of structural deformities, but might have been sabotaged.

Sources said the bridge collapsed due to the removal of nuts and bolts that held the pulleys, which in turn kept the bridge upright.

They said the police officers then investigated the matter and confiscated nuts and bolts in a nearby village.

Sources said it was now a police matter and normal police action will be taken against those responsible.

The investigating team returned to Port Moresby yesterday afternoon.

A full report of their investigation will be given to Works Minister Mao Zeming today.

Minister Zeming had directed Works Secretary Micky Tamarua to investigate the matter.

Mr. Zeming ordered that if there were structural deformities, those works officials who were responsible for it would be terminated.

Three men who had rescued three women from drowning had also demanded that the women marry them.

However, women’s representatives are against this, saying that women always are victimized, even when they are not responsible.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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