2 Aug 2011

Airport Vanuatu chief praises pilot of crashed tourist plane

7:54 pm on 2 August 2011

The chief executive of Vanuatu's airport company has praised the pilot of a light charter plane which crash landed at Port Vila on Monday evening.

The Cessna 207 carrying five New Zealand tourists back from Tanna came down on a golf course ten minutes from the capital.

Authorities say the passengers weren't critically injured but one has been flown back to New Zealand.

Hendry Joewangeh of Airport Vanuatu Limited which owns and manages Bauerfield Airport says there was heavy rain and thick fog the evening of the crash but the pilot used good judgement.

"The main factor here is the weather that caused the pilot not to be able to make visual reference to the ground and get the aircraft to the airport. He has been holding off east of the island for about 15 minutes to half an hour or so and was running low on fuel."

Henry Joewangeh says an investigation into the incident is underway.