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Airlines PNG Dash 8 crash near Madang described as killing many passengers but some survivors found

Updated this morning

An Airlines PNG Dash 8-100 at Mt Hagan, photo courtesy reader Robo

An Airlines PNG Dash 8-100 turboprop crashed near Madang at about 6 pm yesterday near the end of a flight from Lae, killing as many as 28 people.

There are believed to be four survivors, including an Australian pilot, another pilot and the cabin attendants, but no official confirmation of details being reported by residents in or near Madang has yet been given.

The PNG  Accident Investigation Commission said last night that there were 32 people on board the flight and that a small number of survivors have been rescued from the scene, which occurred on land close to the sea but not in it as first indicated.

The commission has also confirmed earlier reports that there had been a fire on board the turbo-prop, which has around 40 passenger seats.

The major victim recovery and investigation procedures are about to begin as daylight returns to the crash site.

An Airlines  PNG Twin Otter crashed on approach to the Kokoda airstrip in August 2009, killing all 13 people on board including nine Australians.

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  • 1
    paddy
    Posted October 13, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Sadly, it has been confirmed via ABC that that 32 people have perished.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-13/plane-crashes-in-png/3570522

  • 2
    paddy
    Posted October 13, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    Apologies for the previous post in haste.
    It seems there were 32 people on board, but there are some reported survivors.

  • 3
    Angra
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    Sadly most passengers were likely to be students and their families travelling to Madang for graduation at Divine Word University. Latest reports say there were 4 survivors including an Australian pilot.

    The crash site is difficult to reach and boats are being used to transport investigators. There are reports of a fire which destroyed the plane – but whether this was the cause or effect of the crash in unknown.

    Airlines PNG have grounded their fleet of Dash 8s and quarantined their fuel depot in Lae (where the flight originated).

  • 4
    Angra
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    Am I alone in finding it rather sick that most Australian media reports (as is usual) seem focussed on whether any Australians were killed?

    PEOPLE were killed – all of whom had mothers, fathers, loved ones, hopes and dreams – their nationality is irrelevant to the tragedy.

  • 5
    Ben Sandilands
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Angra, I agree. As you and some callers last night have indicated many of the passengers were believed to have been students, and their loss is grievous.

  • 6
    Angra
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Having worked in the Education sector in PNG I know just how important education and graduation from a University is for many, many families in a country which has a literacy rate of only around 50%. Having a student who succeeds in gaining a qualification is a highlight for generations to come for a local family.

    Brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins will save their kina and come for miles around to attend the graduation ceremonies for a celebrated family student.

    That is why this is so tragic. Families travelling to see dreams come true have been lost.

    You can’t really translate that into an Australian equivalent.

  • 7
    TomTom
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    re: “most Australian media reports (as is usual) seem focussed on whether any Australians were killed?”

    Sadly, this is true of most societies and, it seems to me, more so of European and North American societies – where this crash will not even make the news. If an aircraft which departed Dubai crashes in Somalia, you will hear about how many Emiratis were on board, and the Somalians, Ethiopians and whomever are a footnote. It will only make the news in Europe, US or Canada if one of those citizens happens to be on board. How many internal Iranian crashes have been reported here? It is a universal human trait. no different than our willful ignorance of civil wars, famines and other suffering occurring currently in places which do not have oil.

    Let me end with my heartfelt sadness at this loss, and thanks to Angra for explaining how special these passengers are.

  • 8
    David Klein
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Having been based in Lae in the 70’s for over five years cutting my teeth in aviation I can certainly relate to weather playing a major factor in the accident. The massive thunderstorm and cloud build-ups that obscure towering mountain ranges in the blink of an eye have to be experienced to be believed. Those early Qantas cadets who were initially trained in the perilous PNG conditions left with the airmanship and navigation skills in VFR conditions second to none.

  • 9
    Angra
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    The News.com.au site has a story about the PNG plane crash on their main page, with a suitably graphic picture. The story’s headline is “Aussie dragged from wreckage as crash kills 28 “.

    I thought this was puzzling as no one else has posted any photos of the crash yet, as rescue teams are only just reaching it and the ABC has guys on the ground and are likely to be first.

    I then did a bit of searching and found that the picture is actually of last year’s crash of a jet at Islamabad, Pakistan. You can see it here at Foxnews –

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/07/28/plane-board-crashes-pakistan/

    It’s grossly offensive of News to use an old picture completely unrelated to the story about the PNG crash, when victims and survivors relatives have not even been informed.

    Doesn’t this breach their code of conduct?

  • 10
    Angra
    Posted October 14, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    TomTom – I know all such tragedies are terrible. But I have just heard from a friend at Divine Word University who has been comforting distraught students since they first heard of the crash yesterday. He says “I am really feeling so sorry for a fellow senior student of our West New Britain student group who had not slept weeping and, now that things are confirmed (she lost a parent), I just don’t know how she will endure. Lord have mercy on her crying heart.”

  • 11
    Peteyboy
    Posted October 15, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Flying in PNG is certainly tough. David Klein I echo your comment on cadets who’d got their hours up in PNG. It was often told to me their experience made them the best pilots an Australian airline could have, and the guys all had fascinating but hairy situations to regale you with. Similar comments were made about the guys who flew in the outback for a few years. Not sure with current airline recruitment whether these guys get a good look in, but I certainly hope it’s not all totally flying-school based cadets on our jets.

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  1. By DASH 8 accident in PNG - PPRuNe Forums on October 13, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    ...] is the first report in print. Fatal turbo-prop crash near Madang reported | Plane Talking ABC have just reported as a [...

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