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Australia offers more assistance in PNG searc -

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Australia offers more assistance in PNG search

Naomi Woodley reported this story on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 12:14:00

ELEANOR HALL: Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith says that the Government holds
grave fears for all those on board the plane. But the Government and the Defence Force say every
available resource will be made available in the search and rescue effort.

From Canberra, Naomi Woodley reports.

NAOMI WOODLEY: The Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith told Federal Parliament of the discovery
of the plane this morning.

STEPHEN SMITH: Mr Deputy Speaker I regret to advise the house that the missing plane, PNG Airlines
Flight CG 4684 has been located, but that the plane has crashed.

NAOMI WOODLEY: The Department of Foreign Affairs has contacted all the families of the Australians
on board, and they've been informed that a crash site has been found. Mr Smith says he can't yet
say if anyone has survived.

STEPHEN SMITH: But given that a crash site has been located we have very, very grave concerns about
the safety and welfare of the nine Australians, the three Papua New Guineans, and the one Japanese
citizen on board the plane.

NAOMI WOODLEY: The Opposition's foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop says the Coalition shares
the Government's concern for those on board.

JULIE BISHOP: It is obviously a matter which touches the hearts of so many Australians. Australians
are renowned for their sense of adventure, they like to experience all the world has to offer, and
over recent years walking the Kokoda track has become a pilgrimage for many Australians, and a day
that would have started out with so much excitement and anticipation has ended up with a plane
crash and that touches so many people.

NAOMI WOODLEY: Stephen Smith says the plane wreckage was discovered by a PNG search and rescue
helicopter which has landed below the site.

STEPHEN SMITH: A group of PNG police officers embarked from the helicopter and are now attempting
to reach the crash site but the terrain presents obvious difficulties of access.

NAOMI WOODLEY: An Australian Defence Force sea king helicopter has now left for the site from Port
Moresby - it's carrying four more PNG police officers, an Australian doctor and an Australian
consular official. It will try to land as close to the wreckage as possible.

Stephen Smith says an ADF Caribou aircraft carrying another search and rescue team and the Deputy
Head of Mission from the Australian High Commission has also left Port Moresby.

STEPHEN SMITH: For an up to 45 minute flight to the Kokoda village which is approximately a three
hour walk from the crash site, leaving open the prospect of three separate parties trying to reach
the crash site at high altitude in very difficult circumstances.

NAOMI WOODLEY: The Defence Minister John Faulkner told the Senate more Australian Defence Force
resources are already on their way.

JOHN FAULKNER: A C-130 Hercules aircraft has departed RAAF base Richmond for Port Moresby this
morning, it includes an Aero Medical Evacuation team. Additionally two army black hawk helicopters
from the Sydney area are being prepared for movement today by C-17 Globemaster, they are expected
to department Richmond a little later today.

NAOMI WOODLEY: He says the ADF stands ready to send additional help for as long as it is required.

JOHN FAULKNER: I can assure the Senate we're doing everything possible to locate our fellow
countrymen who are on their way to walk the Kokoda track.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the Defence Minister John Faulkner ending Naomi Woodley's report.