2 Aug 2011

A runway lighting failure may have led to Port Vila air crash

3:26 pm on 2 August 2011

Authorities in Vanuatu are investigating whether a lack of airport runway lights may be to blame for a light plane crash in Port Vila involving five New Zealand tourists.

Two foreign pilots were also on board the Cessna 207 which crash-landed on a golf course at the Le Lagon hotel resort.

New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs says two New Zealanders were admitted to hospital last night and are being treated for non-critical injuries.

It says one of the patients has been flown back to New Zealand and the High Commission is providing consular assistance to the New Zealanders involved.

A spokesman for the Vanuatu police Kalshem Bongran says civil aviation authorities in Vanuatu are investigating whether the automatic runway lighting system may have failed.

"Because it was raining heavily yesterday evening and there was plenty of cloud and fog, so the pilot had difficulty locating the runway lights."

Kalshem Bongran says it appears the pilot ran low on fuel as he circled trying to land.