Kokoda plane crash: Queensland friends missing

A Sunshine Coast father of two and a doctor from Maroochydoore are among nine Australians missing after a plane crashed en route to the Kokoda track in Papua New Guinea.The charter flight vanished yesterday with 13 people on board, but PNG officials earlier today said a rescue chopper had found the wreckageQueenslander Dr June Canavan, of Maroochydoore, had been travelling to Kokoda with a close friend from the Sunshine Coast on the ill-fated flight.The man she went with is married with children but has not yet been identified. Bendigo man Peter Holliday among the missingSeven Victorians are also among the missing.Dr Canavan’s colleague Elaine Kensett said the 59-year-old adventuress had been trying to raise money for a Tanzanian school by walking the Kokoda track.She had been practising medicine on the Sunshine Coast for 20 years and was a sports physician with Queensland Swimming and Swimming Australia and had been involved in both the Athens and Beijing Olympics.”She loved what she did. This is one of her greatest goals (to walk the track),” Ms Kensett told brisbanetimes南京夜网.au.”She wanted to help fight poverty through education.”Dr Canavan is an avid skiier and had climbed Mt Kosciuszko.Ms Kensett was contacted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade last night with the news.”I’m her next of kin,” she said. “All we can do is hope that they find survivors.”PNG Civil Aviation Authority head Joseph Kintau told ABC Radio he had just left a briefing where he learned the news.Foreign Minister Stephen Smith breaks the news about the missing PNG plane to MPs in Canberra.”They’ve located the wreckage,” he said.”I don’t have any specific details at this point in time but I have just been told it has been located.”Mr Kintau said the search started at 6.50am local time, but he didn’t know when the wreckage was spotted.He didn’t yet know if there were survivors, but said a radio signal had been received.Mr Kintau said he didn’t know how much of the wreck had been found or if there were signs of a fire there, but described the location as ”very, very difficult terrain”.Rescuers would reach the area as soon as possible, he said.Authorities were earlier investigating unconfirmed reports from villagers in the Mount Bellamy area of Papua New Guinea that there may be a plane crash site “nearby”, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says.”Our officials, PNG officials are working very hard following this information down,” Mr Smith told ABC Radio today.”We’ve had an unconfirmed reports from villagers that they heard a crash or a loud bang in the areas around Mount Bellamy.”The area was where PNG authorities had one helicopter on the ground, Mr Smith said.”We’ve narrowed it to this area, so we’re describing that as a possible crash site.””But we don’t want to be getting ahead of ourselves or confirming things we’re not in a position to confirm.”Mr Smith said search authorities were hopeful of getting “a couple of good hours in” before noon.”The anecdotal experience is the weather is better in the morning than later in the day.” brisbanetimes南京夜网.au
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