Kokoda plane crash: wreckage found in Papua New Guinea

Three search parties are their way to the site where a charter plane with 13 people on board crashed while en route to the Kokoda Track.A rescue helicopter spotted the wreckage this morning near the small village of Isurava in the Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea.However the search parties face a long trek and difficult weather conditions, and there is no indication of casualties at this stage. AUDIO: Wife of missing plane passenger speaksForeign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith told Parliament this morning that the site was three hours’ walk from Kokoda Village. He said the Government held grave fears for all 13 on board the plane, including nine Australians.Seven Victorians and two Queenslanders were among the 13 people aboard the plane.The lost aircraft was ferrying tourists to the village of Kokoda when it disappeared during bad weather yesterday morning.The lost aircraft was ferrying tourists to the village of Kokoda when it disappeared during bad weather yesterday morning.The wife of a Victorian man Peter Holliday, who was on the plane, said she would fly to Papua New Guinea tomorrow.Shonia Holliday, of Bendigo, has booked flights and the Australian Foreign Affairs Department has assisted with organising visas, she told Fairfax Radio.”We’ve got flights booked for tomorrow morning,” she said. Her husband Peter , 28, was on his way with his cousin to walk the iconic Kokoda Track in a tribute to his veteran grandfather.”His grandfather fought in World War II in that area, so he and his cousin wanted to go and experience it for themselves, I guess,” she said today.An emotional Ms Holliday said all the families of the missing adventurers needed positive support.”We just need everyone [to] stop talking negatively,” she said.”The best thing is to talk positively.”They are going to come home, they’re going to be fine, there might be a few cuts and bruises but that’s going to be the extent … “A large crowd of worried Papua New Guineans, fearing their relatives were on board, gathered at Port Moresby airport.More than 60 PNG porters, who assist Kokoda trekkers along the famous 96-kilometre walk, have arrived at the airport with the hope their loved ones were not on board the plane. Kokoda Track veteran Norris Selu said groups from different trekking companies gathered to find out information about the flight.”We are here to show sympathy and provide moral support.”All of us are worried someone we know may have been on board. At this stage we just don’t know and are waiting for more information.”A meeting between No Roads Expedition trekking company, Airlines PNG and the rescue team is being held at the airport to determine the next step in the operation.

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