Sydney (AFP) – Twelve people, including an Australian, were killed when a light aircraft crashed just short of a landing strip in remote Papua New Guinea, reports said on Thursday.
The aircraft was flying in the rugged west of the Pacific nation on Wednesday afternoon when its engine failed mid-air, sending it into a nose-dive, the PNG Broadcasting Corporation said.
It crashed into a swamp close to Kiunga airstrip.
“Yesterday we encountered a tragedy, a plane crash,” Kiunga’s police commander Joe Puri told local media.
“A small plane that arrived from Oksapmin just before landing crashed into the swamp, with all the passengers, including the pilot, dead.”
The broadcaster said three children were among those killed while Australian media said the Australian on board was the pilot.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed one of its nationals was on the Sunbird Aviation flight and that it crashed on approach to Kiunga.
“We continue to work closely with Papua New Guinea authorities,” a department spokesman told AFP, without confirming whether or not he was the pilot.
“Our thoughts are with the passengers and crew of the aircraft and their families. Due to privacy obligations, we are unable to provide further information.”