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PM Marape wants AFP, PNG police to find out owner, pilot, cargo
05:17 am GMT+12, 29/07/2020, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea Government is concerned about the Australian-registered aircraft which crash-landed on a cleared strip of land outside Port Moresby on Sunday, leaving no clues as to its pilot and cargo.
 
Prime Minister James Marape has asked Australian police to assist their PNG counterparts find out who owned the Cessna 420C twin-engine aircraft, where did it depart from, how it flew into PNG airspace undetected, who the pilot was, what cargo was it carrying and if there were any passengers.
 
“The flight is suspicious and that is why I am asking the Australian Federal Police to assist local authorities to ascertain who owns the plane, who flew the plane and what the cargo was,” Marape said.
 
Villagers near the site where the partly-burnt aircraft was found saw it circling near the hills before it disappeared.

They alerted authorities immediately.
 
Marape said there was possibility that the aircraft had been used for drug trafficking.
 
“From sketchy information, Police Commissioner David Manning indicated a possible drug trafficking,” he said.
 
Marape raised concern that the unmarked small aircraft was able to enter PNG airspace and landed in an important resource project area of the country.
 
“We are not a banana republic where anyone can pick up a plane and just come into the country un-announced,” he said.
 
“There is no room for those who think they could peddle drugs in PNG.” The wreckage was found near the Papa and Lealea villages 30km west of Port Moresby on Sunday afternoon. Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Operations Donald Yamasombi on Monday said they would find out who the cleared the strip of land.
 
“Until such time investigations are complete, we will not be in a position to release any information,” he said.

A statement from the PNG Accident Investigation Commission said the aircraft was found after the activation of an Emergency Locator Transmitter on Sunday.
 
The Rural Airstrip Agency of PNG in a statement confirmed that it did not create, restore or maintain
the strip of land where the aircraft landed.
 
According to the Australian Government Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the aircraft was registered to a PNG company as its holder, but operating out of Australia.
 
Both businesses registered their commencement date as Jan 29, 2020. The wreckage was found 50 meters into the bush at the end of the strip of land.
 
Part of the right wing had broken away from the fuselage.
 
The left wing was damaged.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS


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