Four die in Papua New Guinea plane crash

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Three Australian citizens and a New Zealander died when the chartered light aircraft in which they were travelling crashed on Misima Island off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The plane, a Cessna Citation with five people on board, is said by locals to have overshot the runway in poor weather, before crashing into trees and bursting into flames.

The fifth person, a New Zealander believed to be one of the pilots, is undergoing treatment for heavy bruising. The crash was confirmed by the Australian Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, who said that officials of the Australian Consulate would be travelling to the crash site on Wednesday. The presence of the 2 New Zealanders on board was confirmed by the New Zealand High Commission in Port Moresby.

Jerome Peniasi, The acting Chief Executive of PNG Ports said the Australians on the plane were working with a company called Australian Reef Pilots near Misima Island. "We are aware of the accident, but we still don't have much information as communication has been difficult", he said. The Managing Director of Australian Reef Pilots, Craig Southerwood confirmed that one of the dead was a 61-year old marine pilot working for the agency.