The investigation into a plane crash in Papua New Guinea's Western province last month which killed 12 people has been compromised because the wreckage was looted soon after the crash.
The chief executive of the country's Accident Investigation Commission, David Inau, says the looters removed or tampered with evidence needed for its investigation.
The small Sunbird Aviation plane crashed while approaching the runway at Kiunga Oksapmin airport on April 13th.
Mr Inau says no distress call was made by the pilot, a French-Australian national, but witnesses reported seeing the plane suddenly pitch up to an almost vertical position before dropping to the ground.
He told the newspaper, The National, that as soon as the aircraft crashed people rushed to have a look, and removed baggage and other items from the wreckage.
Mr Inau says the commission is still awaiting $US158,000 from the government to conduct its investigations.