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.