Western Province Police Commander, Superintendent Joe Puri, has described a plane crash in Kiunga yesterday as a very sad tragedy.
Speaking to EMTV this morning from Kiunga, Superintendent Puri confirmed the crash occurred between 2.15-2.30pm yesterday afternoon.
He said the crash site is located around 1-1.5km from Kiunga Airport in a swampy area. The plane is believed to have been operated by Sunbird Aviation.
Police officers waded through high water to reach the site yesterday to secure it and retrieve the bodies.
Puri said an exploration company diverted their helicopters to help with the retrieving of bodies yesterday and by 4.30pm all bodies were in the Kiunga Hospital morgue.
An Accident Investigation Commission team from Port Moresby are already on the ground in Kiunga to begin investigations into the fatal crash.
12 people are confirmed dead, including an expatriate pilot believed to be from Australia, as well as two women and three children. All are believed to be from the same village in Oksapmin.
“The sad part is that aircraft services the rural part of the country and it’s [a] very, very sad tragedy and it’s hard to believe that this has happened,” Puri said.