26 Jan 2012

Locals in disbelief at size of fatal PNG lanslide

6:27 am on 26 January 2012

Disaster officials are slowly converging on the area in remote Southern Highlands where a massive landslide on Tuesday morning is feared to have killed dozens of people.

Local media has reported the death toll could surpass 40 although National Disaster Management say four bodies have been recovered.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill travelled to the area in Wednesday to observe the damage and consult with representatives of the multi-billion dollar Liquified Natural Gas project which is centred on the Hides gas field in the effected area.

A landowner from the LNG site, Eric Huai, says rescuers are yet to make much headway retrieving the buried.

He says the local community is in disbelief at the carnage.

"There is about fifty million cuhic metres of gravel or load that needs to be removed, it's about two kilometres long and about five hundred metres wide. In the next day or two, we will start clearing the area."