Three survived initial impact: PNG AIC

Three people survived the initial impact of the Kiunga crash last Wednesday however, succumbed to their injuries at the hospital, says PNG Accident Investigation Commission CEO David Inau.

Inau said the twin-engine Britten Norman Islander aircraft that was operated by Vanimo-based Sunbird Aviation, was only 33 seconds away from landing or 1200 metres short from the runway.

“On the final approach, the aircraft was seen to have pitched up and then entered into a spiral descent and ended up crashing.”

He said the process of investigation has started, which will be long and tedious due to the fact that smaller aircraft of this category by law are not fitted with a cockpit voice recording device.

“Only aircrafts weighing above 5800kg are fitted with one. We will look at every possible cause to what may have contributed to the accident.”

A preliminary report will be issued within 28 days as per the International Civil Aviation guidelines.

“We have contacted the manufacturer of the engine in Canada and they will be here tomorrow (Monday) and will be accompanied with one of our investigators to the site,” Inau said.

Of the 12 persons on board the aircraft, nine were adults and three were children. These 12 included the 31-year-old pilot who is an Australian citizen.

The pilot was identified as Benjamin Andre Picard, from Sydney, Australia. 

The aircraft departed Oksapmin for Kiunga at 1356 on April 13 however, on approach to land at Kiunga, it crashed approximately 1200 metres short of the runway.

(Pictures provided by PNG Accident Investigation Commission CEO David Inau.)

Sally Pokiton