A light aircraft has crashed in suspicious circumstances just outside Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea and may have originated from Mareeba. Picture: Deni ToKunai via Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary
A light aircraft has crashed in suspicious circumstances just outside Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea and may have originated from Mareeba. Picture: Deni ToKunai via Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary

Mysterious plane crash linked to drugs

A LIGHT aircraft which crashed in Papua New Guinea in suspicious circumstances, possibly carrying a load of cocaine, may have originated in Mareeba.

Local news reports say the twin engine Cessna was found by locals burning on a newly-built runway on Sunday in bushland in the country's Central Province.

Website Papua New Guinea Today quoted a Police Dog Unit Officer in Charge Jack Hori saying the initial investigations suggest cocaine was the main cargo on board, but a large quantity of the drug was moved and the plane appeared to have been deliberately set alight.

The pilot is yet to be found and is believed to have fled the plane.

 

A light aircraft has crashed in suspicious circumstances just outside Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea and may have originated from Mareeba. Picture: Deni ToKunai via Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary
A light aircraft has crashed in suspicious circumstances just outside Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea and may have originated from Mareeba. Picture: Deni ToKunai via Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary

Australian Federal Police are understood to be on the ground assisting with the investigation.

Flight tracking of the plane's radar leading up to the crash showed it left Mareeba on Sunday morning about 8.40am, flew north and reached 1500ft, then cannot be seen on radar just north of Biboohra.

According to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority records the plane has a Papua New Guinean operator named Ravenpol, but operated by Avlease Pty Ltd which is based in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

They both became owner and operator in January this year.

 

 

 

A spokesman for the former owner of the aircraft, Goldfields Air Services, said the Cessna had been sold in August 2018.

PNG Air Accident Commission investigations manager advisor Winston San Martin told local PNG media they would be looking at how the plane crashed or landed.

Authorities were called after receiving a distress signal.

He said the investigation would consider if the aircraft had a flight plan and relevant approvals for landing in PNG.

AFP have been asked for comment.

More to come.

Originally published as Mysterious plane crash linked to drugs, Far North


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