Airlines PNG's de Havilland Dash-8 Series 100 ...
A Dash 8 belonging to Airlines PNG. Image via Wikipedia

Tragedy in the country as reports of a plane crash killing 28 people emerges. It has been reported that a Dash 8 200 series belonging to Airlines PNG has crashed on the banks of Guabe River near Marakum village along Rai Coast, Madang.

The plane carrying 32 passengers and 4 crew member including an Australian and New Zealand pilot is said to have ditched into the river after its tail caught on fire. 28 fatalities have been confirmed with reports that both the pilots and two other survived. The Australian Army has dispatched 2 Blackhawk helicopters to assist local emergency and rescue authorities.

Reports also indicate a good number of the passengers were parents of final year students at the Divine Word University on their way to attend a Thanksgiving dinner to be hosted tonight. The Namorong blog reports distraught students and relatives fronting the local police station further information.

Bad weather was reported in the area at the time of the crash.

This is the largest number of fatalities in the history of aviation in the country.