Papua New Guinea 28 Die in Violent Storm, Forest Crash on the Banks of the Gogol
What: PNG Airlines de Havilland Canada DHC-8-102
Where: 20 km (12.5 mls) S of Madang Airport (MAG) (Papua New Guinea)
When: Oct 13, 2011
Who: 4 crew, 28 passengers, 4 survivors
Why: About 5.15pm, while en route from Lae to Madang, the flight went down in dense forest in bad weather. The pilots managed to send a distress call. Four survivors were pulled from the wreckage and taken to Yamad clinic. The survivors include an 64 year old Australian pilot and a New Zealand pilot and an Asian passenger who was sitting in the seventh seat, who crawled through a crack in the fuselage, and who suffered burns on 27% of his body (including back and arms). Survivors are being transported by boat to Modilon hospital in Madang.
First responders were initially blocked when they could not cross the Guabe river, then a boat suffered engine problems, then the third attempt made it to the scene of the crash. A violent storm and dense forest hampered the rescue efforts, which were facilitated by chopper.
Australia engaged four army Blackhawk helicopters to assist in the rescue. Rescuers on the Gogol river were impeded due to heavy rains. It took four boats to reach the crash site.
PNG quarantined Laes Nadzab airport and grounded the Dash 8 fleet.
Witnesses saw the plane crash on the Guabe River bank and on impact, burst into flame. Most of the passengers were local Papuan parents of Madang’s Divine Word University students. According to a resort manager who went to pick them up from the airport, six of the plane’s occupants — one passenger and five crew members – had reservations to stay at Madang Resort.
PNG Accident Investigation Commission’s spokesman Sid O’Toole talked to the media.
PNG Airlines released the following:
POMSOX/MEDIA RELEASE – PORT MORESBY 10:30 PM THURSDAY, 13th OCTOBER 2011 – AIRLINES PNG ANNOUNCEMENT
We are sad to confirm that there has been an accident involving an Airlines PNG Dash 8 aircraft near Madang late Thursday afternoon.
Emergency services have been activated and Airlines PNG is co-operating with authorities to mount rescue and recovery efforts.
There were 28 passengers and 4 crew members on board. There appear to be some survivors while a number of people remain unaccounted for.
Airlines PNG is working with the emergency service authorities to confirm this information in more detail.
A full investigation is underway by authorities and Airlines PNG as to the possible cause of the accident.
Airlines PNG fully supports the action of local authorities at Lae who have quarantined aviation fuel at Lae airport from where the aircraft originated.
Airlines PNG has also grounded its Dash 8 fleet of 12 aircraft until further notice.
Our prayers and thoughts are now with all those affected by this very sad day for Papua New Guinea.
For further information contact:
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