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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 6) – A mercury spill in the cargo hold of an Air Niugini aircraft forced passengers at Tokua Airport in East New Britain off their flight to Port Moresby on Sunday.

The national carrier’s head office in Port Moresby confirmed that a passenger on an Air Niugini flight from Port Moresby to Mt Hagen had checked in 500 ml of mercury in the cargo hold.

It also confirmed that during the flight, the mercury spilt and caused slight damage to the cargo area.

This resulted in the plane being held back in Mt Hagen for inspections by Air Niugini engineers.

The Air Niugini head office confirmed that engineers were repairing the damage caused by the mercury spill.

Due to the cancelled flight, passengers waiting in East New Britain for travel to Port Moresby on Sunday had to cancel their trip.

Alex Davani was one frustrated passenger who was to travel from Tokua to Port Moresby on Sunday before the flight was cancelled.

"I had my flight delayed and right now I am not happy with the Air Niugini services," he said.

Mr Davani said to make things worse, next day, priority was given to other passengers and not the people who had their flights cancelled on Sunday.

"Air Niugini should have provided funds to accommodate the passengers who were delayed," Mr Davani said.

Air Niugini apologised for the flight cancellations and delays.

July 7, 2005

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