NZer shot in PNG

LAWRENCE GULLERY
Last updated 19:12 12/08/2014
Waihi Beach mum Cathy Franzoi is recovering in Cairns Hospital, Queensland.

Waihi Beach mum Cathy Franzoi is recovering in Cairns Hospital, Queensland.

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A Waihi woman is recovering in an Australian hospital after being wounded by a ''stray bullet'' while volunteering in Papua New Guinea.

Cathy Franzoi was hit by a bullet in her leg, during a gun fight outside where she was sleeping on Sunday, in Port Moresby. She is in a stable condition in Cairns Hospital, Queensland.

She was in Papua New Guinea with her teenage son Luke, volunteering for  YWAM Medical Ships, offering medical training to local communities.

Franzoi's husband, Rodney, was home in New Zealand at the time of the incident.

When Fairfax spoke to him tonight, his wife was still in surgery and he was expecting to hear how the procedure went later  this  evening.

He said his wife was in good spirits last time he spoke to her. 

''So much so that when she called me to tell me, I was convinced for half an hour that she was pulling my leg.''

Rodney Franzoi said the couple's 15-year-old son, Luke, arrived home today and ''can't wait to go back'' to Papua New Guinea. 

Rodney Franzoi said it was the first time he and his wife had done a trip of this kind, but he said it had not deterred them from future  missions. 

''The plan is for me to go next year.''

YWAM Medical Ships spokeswoman Rebekah Hoover, of Townsville, Queensland, said the organisation was doing all it could to help the Franzoi family as well as working with authorities to find out what happened. It would also conduct its own investigation.

''We are very sad to confirm that Cathy Franzoi, of New Zealand, was hit in the leg by a stray bullet while staying in Port Moresby,'' Hoover said.

''The incident occurred after she had completed a project serving on our medical ship helping local people in Papua New Guinea's Gulf Province with medical training and community development needs, while awaiting her return flight to New Zealand.''

Franzoi, who also worked as a photographer, was due to fly back to New Zealand on Monday.

Hoover said she was pleased to report Franzoi was in stable condition and ''is in Cairns receiving treatment where she was evacuated with a support person''. 

She said the remainder of the Waihi Baptist team volunteering in Papua New Guinea returned to New Zealand safely on Monday night as scheduled.

''Our thoughts are very much with Cathy and her family, and our priority remains to do whatever we are able to speed her recovery.''

Hoover said YWAM Medical Ships had an excellent safety record and the incident was the first of its kind that any volunteer had been involved in during more than 22 years facilitating short-term volunteering trips overseas.  

''We are fully co-operating with local authorities and will be conducting our own thorough assessment of the circumstances surrounding the incident to understand if there is anything we can do to improve safety for our volunteers on future visits.''

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also investigation the incident.

Social media websites showed Rodney Franzoi was the manager at Waihi Beach Christian Camp, Te Rau Aroha and was a volunteer with St John. The couple also promoted their photography work online. They have lived in New Zealand for 18 years since moving from South Africa.

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- Waikato Times

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