12 Aug 2009

PNG's PM accepts help from Australia in search for missing plane

7:09 am on 12 August 2009

Papua New Guinea's prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, has accepted Australia's offer of assistance in the search for an aircraft which went missing yesterday.

Thirteen people were aboard the Airlines of Papua New Guinea flight for the short trip from Port Moresby to Kokoda.

The Australian foreign minister, Stephen Smith, says the prime minister, Kevin Rudd, spoke with Sir Michael about what help Australia can offer.

He says Papua New Guinea authorities believe that they have narrowed the search area to a possible crash site

Mr Smith says Australia is sending military and civilian personnel to help with the search and rescue operation which will resume again this morning .

He also says the vessel HMAS Success is being diverted from its current location near the Torres Strait and will arrive in Papua New Guinea this morning.

Stephen Smith says the most important thing is to deploy as much search and rescue effort as we can in conjunction with the Papua New Guinea Government.