An Australian pilot was among the 12 people who were killed in a plane crash in a remote part of Papua New Guinea. The plane crashed into a swamp while trying to land at the airport around 3 p.m. local time.
The plane crash was confirmed by Vasil Wifo, a former employee of the two-aircraft company Sunbird Aviation. “Twelve bodies are now in the morgue in Kiunga Hospital,” he told Stuff.co.nz. “It’s terrible news, everyone feels really low and really sad. It’s something we don’t expect to happen every day,” he added.
According to Kiunga police, three people were taken to the hospital from the crash site but were pronounced dead on arrival.
“Yesterday we encountered a tragedy, a plane crash,” the ABC quoted Kiunga’s police commander, Joe Puri, as saying. “A small plane that arrived from Oksapmin just before landing crashed into the swamp, with all the passengers, including the pilot, dead.” The local media reported that an engine failure was responsible for the crash.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to the family of an Australian man who was on board a Sunbird Aviation aircraft travelling from Oksapmin to Kiunga in Western Province, Papua New Guinea that crashed on approach to the airport at Kiunga,” the DFAT spokesperson said. “We continue to work closely with Papua New Guinea authorities. Our thoughts are with the passengers and crew of the aircraft and their families.”
The spokesperson added that the department will be providing consular support to the families of the Australian victims who may be involved in the crash, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The Australian High Commission in Port Moresby is reportedly working with the local authorities to identify those on board.