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RNZ Pacific

Papua New Guinea’s deputy Prime Minister Sam Basil has died following a car crash in the Bulolo district of Morobe Province.

As well being Deputy Prime Minister, Basil was Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, and is the former Minister for Communications, Information Technology and Energy.

Police Commissioner David Manning confirmed his death after a collision along the Bulolo-Lae Road last night and the PNG Post-Courier reports that investigating police say the driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash is on the run.

The newspaper said a close protection officer of Basil had also died.

Police transported Basil to Bulolo Hospital but he was pronounced dead at 11.30pm local time.

Three other people were also injured in the crash and taken to hospital.

Police Commissioner Manning expressed his condolences to Sam Basil’s family and the people of Bulolo electorate.

He appealed for calm to allow police investigations to be completed.

Second vehicle driver identified
Manning said a second vehicle was involved, and the driver had been identified.

The scene of the crash in Bulolo district
The scene of the crash in Bulolo district. Image: PNG Police/RNZ

“It is with great sadness that I wish to regrettably inform the Prime Minister, and the country of the death of our Deputy Prime Minister following severe injuries he sustained in a vehicle accident,” he said.

“I wish to also express my condolences to the late Mr Basil MP’s immediate family and the people of Bulolo electorate.

“I also wish to express my gratitude to the many people and organisations that responded to the incident.

“Police have commenced its investigations into the accident and have ascertained that a second vehicle was involved in the incident and the driver of this vehicle is known.

“I appeal to any eyewitnesses to the incident to come forward to assist investigators in their investigations.

‘Appeal for calm’
“I would like to appeal for calm during this time and allow the course of the investigations to be completed in a timely manner,” Manning said.

Basil was first elected in Bulolo in the 2007 General Election for the People’s Progress Party. In early 2011 he joined the Papua New Guinea Party and became opposition leader later that year.

In 2014, he joined the Pangu Party and immediately became its leader, but left Pangu to form the United Labour Party in 2019.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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