Report: 28 dead in Papua New Guinea plane crash

By the Associated Press | October 13, 2011 | 5:25 PM EDT

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (AP) — Twenty-eight people are dead while four have survived a plane crash Thursday in the wilds of Papua New Guinea, according to Australian authorities.

The survivors include an Australian pilot and a New Zealand pilot, according to Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The Airlines PNG Dash 8 aircraft crashed while flying from Lae to Madang on the South Pacific island nation's north coast, Accident Investigation Commission spokesman Sid O'Toole said.

The twin-propellor plane crashed 12 miles (20 kilometers) south of Madang, he said.

Australian consular officials are planning to travel to Madang Friday.

"Initial indications are that there are no Australians amongst those killed," the department said in a statement.

Local villagers told the government-owned National Broadcasting Commission there were four survivors.

Police and ambulances had reached the crash site and investigators would travel there Friday, O'Toole said.

Australian Broadcasting Corp. television cited Madang residents as saying there was a violent storm in the area at the time of the crash.

Most of the passengers were parents traveling to attend their children's university graduation ceremony in Madang this weekend, according to the Australian Associated Press news agency.

The duty manager at the Medang Resort, Donald Lambert, said six of the plane's occupants — one passenger and five crew members — had reservations to stay at his hotel.

"I went to meet them at the airport," he said.