14 Feb 2011

Hopes that missing chopper pilot in PNG is still alive

7:25 pm on 14 February 2011

An Australian pilot is missing after his helicopter crashed into the sea off Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.

The 57-year-old Queensland man has been missing since his helicopter crashed in the Bismark Sea on Sunday.

Pacific Helicopters owner, Malcolm Smith Kela, who's also the governor of Eastern Highlands Province, says they are still holding out hope that the pilot will be found alive.

He says the man's very fit and could have made it to a small nearby island.

Mr Smith Kela says the experienced pilot was flying helicopters, carrying mining personnel from Goroka to Manus.