Aus Govt fears for lost plane in PNG | world | Hindustan Times
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Aus Govt fears for lost plane in PNG

A passenger plane with 13 people on board is missing in the South Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said.

world Updated: Aug 11, 2009 12:58 IST

A passenger plane with 13 people on board is missing in the South Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said on Tuesday.

"A search is now underway for the aircraft," Smith told Australian parliament, saying the plane was on a flight from the capital Port Moresby to the village of Kokoda, a popular destination for Australian tourists.

Smith said that given the destination, it was expected Australians would be among those on the plane. Sky TV said that eight Australians were on board. It did not give a source for the information.

The plane was operated by Airlines PNG, which is listed on the PNG stock exchange. The company operates international flights to northern Australia and domestic flights within PNG.

Smith said nearby airfields were being checked to see if the plane had landed, but weather conditions in the area were making it difficult for searchers.

Kokoda is popular site for Australian tourists, who visit to walk the Kokoda Track, where during World War Two Australian forces turned back Japanese troops and stopped them taking the capital Port Moresby.

Aviation is hazardous in PNG, due to rugged terrain, high mountains and rapidly changing weather conditions.