10 May 2003

A helicopter crash in Papua New Guinea kills pilot

10:09 am on 10 May 2003

A helicopter has crashed into the sea near Lae in Papua New Guinea, killing the pilot and injuring US Army personnel who were being flown to a World War II wreck to search for the remains of lost airmen.

Ginger Couden of the US Army Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii, said the Pacific Helicopters charter flight, with five on board, crashed just after takeoff.

The Lhama helicopter was enroute to the World War II crash site for the team to survey before moving all personnel and equipment to the site.

Ms Couden says the weather was not believed to have been a contributing factor in the crash.

The 13-member team was last week deployed to PNG to search and identify the remains of nine crew members aboard the B-24 Liberator bomber which was discovered last year.