February 16, 2016
Report by Daniel Simpkins, Project Manager, Canstruct – Oro province, PNG
The final deck pour of the Amboga was set to start at 2.00 am this morning. At approx. 1.30 am I received a message to let me know that the wet crossing that we had put in at the Girua had washed away last night – big storm on the eastern side of Mt Lamington. Cliff Lifu (Construction Manager) and I went down to the Amboga, checked on the crew on the bridge and the batching plant and watched the first truck load of concrete as is was craned and kibbled in.
Cliff and I then went to the Girua River to see first-hand the latest washout. Quite obviously it would be impassable to all vehicles, and as we returned to the Amboga, we discussed how the wet crossing could be reinstated. The good news was that the pad we had constructed for Peter Casa (Casa Engineering) was completely intact, and therefore he would be able to get on with his work today. The concrete pour at the Amboga was continuing without any problems. Cliff decided that he would go back to the Girua and see if he could start to make some headway in repairing the wet crossing using the 30 tonne excavator. Not long after he had departed, Des Gwilliams, operating the crane, called me on the radio (we use radios for communication from the bridge deck to the crane operator at night) and said that he had received another emergency call from Sister Mildred at Oro Hospital. There was a pregnant woman having difficulty with a breech birth that the Oro Bay Hospital wanted to transfer to the Popondetta Hospital, but because of the road being cut at the Girua, our assistance was sought to transfer her from the Girua to Popondetta. She was on her way by ambulance from Oro Bay – could we meet her at the Girua? She would obviously have to cross the river using our new structure. Being the only one then available, I said OK – I will meet up with the woman at the Girua River.
So at approximately 4.00 am, our security guards at the Girua and medical orderlies from Oro Bay carried this poor woman across the new bridge structure on a stretcher, and placed her in my vehicle on the back seat. Two orderlies and two female nurses also travelled with her, and we set out for Popondetta. I was directed to the maternity section of the hospital and parked. Within a few minutes of arriving, so did a baby boy – born on the back seat of the Canstruct vehicle! Mother and baby both well. The baby weighed 3.1 kg.
And the finale is that the little chap has been named Daniel!
And the concrete pour continues – no problems have been reported.