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Australian pilot dies in PNG crash

(Please note, this matter is not currently being litigated in Australia)

An Australian pilot is one of four people who were killed when their DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 aircraft crashed just outside of Port Moresby on Saturday morning.

The charter plane (registration P2-KSF), operated by Hevilift was en route from Woitape to Port Moresby; carrying two crew members and seven passengers. The plane crashed just short of the nation’s capital and landed near Mt Lawes about 20 kilometres north of Port Moresby. The aircraft was captained by an Australian pilot, with the co-pilot and passengers believed to be PNG nationals.

The pilot, co-captain and one passenger died at the scene. The six remaining passengers were taken to Port Moresby hospital for treatment. Unfortunately, a second passenger who had been left in a critical condition passed away yesterday. At this stage, the names of the victims remain unknown.

The cause of the crash has not yet been determined however PNG’s Accident Investigation Commission stated that “bad weather was likely to be a significant factor”. The Commission also noted that there were not any known problems with the crew or the aircraft itself. A representative from Hevilift has said the company would conduct a full investigation and would cooperate with all relevant authorities. Authorities have returned to the scene of the crash over the weekend to begin a thorough investigation into the accident.

Air travel is heavily relied upon by PNG citizens as the rugged and mountainous terrain make it difficult to travel by vehicle. It is estimated that 6 million residents a year use some form of air transport.

According to the Aviation Safety Network, this crash is the 14th one to occur in PNG since the year 2000. The largest accident on record occurred in October of 2012 when an Airlines PNG passenger flight crashed, killing 28 of the 32 people on board.

Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of the deceased and to those who were on board the aircraft. Shine Lawyers Aviation Law Department will continue to monitor international events in relation to this terrible tragedy and provide aviation legal commentary as needed or requested.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: September 23, 2014.

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