Airlines PNG Dash 8-100 crashes near Madang

An Airlines PNG Dash 8-100 has crashed near Madang, Papua New Guinea, resulting in 28 fatalities.

The carrier has pledged its total commitment to establish the cause of the accident and to do whatever needs to be done to support the families of those lost.

“We join with the mourning and the sadness of the entire nation, in this truly dreadful day for PNG and its people,” said APNG spokesman, Erastus Kamburi.

The company has established there was an emergency situation on board the aircraft on approach to Madang airport. It has also been confirmed there was bad weather in the area at the time. The crew attempted to conduct a controlled emergency landing but the aircraft broke up on impact. Part of the fuselage caught fire.

Despite attempts by crew to assist in the rescue, 28 passengers died at the scene. It is believed all the deceased are PNG nationals.

Airlines PNG has confirmed that Captain Bill Spencer, First Officer Campbell Wagstaff, Flight Attendant Kapi Eria, and one passenger survived the accident.

Sixty-four year-old Capt Spencer is a former A310 captain and has in excess of 45 years flying experience, including 35 years in PNG. First Officer Wagstaff has more than 2,500 hours flying experience.

The company has initiated an investigation in co-ordination with PNG authorities and both the aircraft and engine manufacturers. Transport Canada will also be involved as the regulatory authority for the state in which the aircraft was manufactured.

The investigation will be wide-ranging: including areas such as weather, fuel, any possible mid-air fire or any mechanical issues.

The company has grounded its remaining 11 Dash 8s until it is satisfied there are no safety issues with the fleet.

“This is our commitment to the people of PNG, the families of those lost, and the survivors of this terrible tragedy: we will give you our total support in the days and months ahead. We will do whatever is needed to find the answers as to what happened and to share those answers with you all,” Kamburi declared on behalf of the airline.

All of Airlines PNG’s Twin Otter aircraft continue to operate as normal.

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