28 Die, 4 Survive Papua New Guinea Plane Crash

by nph | October 14th, 2011

Photo Courtesy of BBC

Four people have survived a plane crash in Papua New Guinea that killed 28 people when it went down Thursday during a violent thunderstorm.

The plane, a Airlines PNG Dash 8, was headed from Lae, Papua New Guinea, to Madang when it crashed around 5 p.m. on the South Pacific island nation’s northern coast. Most passengers were parents traveling to see their children’s college graduation ceremony in Madang this week.

“All I can tell you is there have been reports of survivors and reports there have been fatalities,” the PNG Accident Investigation Commission’s (AIC) spokesman, Sid O’Toole, told AAP.

Among the survivors is the plane’s 64-year-old Australian pilot as well as a New Zealand pilot. Another man, believed to be a Chinese national, reportedly escaped the burning plane through a crack in the fuselage.

“The weather was horrendous,” Australian High Commission representative Trevor Hattersley told The Associated Press. “There was a huge storm that came through at the same time — big rain, big wind.”

Airlines PNG has grounded its fleet of 12 planes until further notice.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that more than 20 planes have crashed in Papua New Guinea in the last decade. This is attributed to the country’s rugged terrain and to few internal correcting roads, so that air travel is a necessity for many of its six million citizens.

Read more.

Do you think air safety in Papua New Guinea needs to be tightened?

If you or someone you know has had their safety compromised on a commercial or private aircraft, the aviation lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy can help.

Photo Credit: BBC