‘No survivors from PNG plane crash'
Canberra, August 12, 2009
Rescuers have reached the wreckage of a passenger aircraft that crashed in Papua New Guinea and found no survivors among the 13 passengers and crew, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said on Wednesday.
The Airlines PNG De Havilland Twin Otter 300 with 11 passengers and two crew went missing over thickly forested mountains on Tuesday during a flight from the capital Port Moresby to the tourist destination of Kokoda.
'Papua New Guinea officials on the ground at the crash site have concluded that there were no survivors from the crash,' Rudd told Australia's parliament.
Two helicopters began searching for the aircraft, which had nine Australians, one Japanese and three Papuans on board, in the rugged Owen Stanley Ranges earlier on Wednesday after poor weather in the area cleared.
Aviation is hazardous in Papua New Guinea due to rugged, high mountains covered in thick jungle and rapidly changing weather conditions.
Airlines PNG, listed on the PNG stock exchange, operates to domestic destinations and to northern Australia. The company's Web site said it has eight Twin Otters in its fleet.
Australian tourists visit Kokoda to walk the Kokoda Track, where during World War Two Australian forces halted a Japanese troop advance on Port Moresby. – Reuters