24 Jan 2012

'Dozens' missing in PNG landslide

11:08 pm on 24 January 2012

Grave fears are held for a number of people trapped in a landslide in Papua New Guinea's mountainous highlands region.

There are unconfirmed reports of about 40 bodies on Tuesday.

The ABC reports aerial photographs show the landslide near Tari in the Southern Highlands extends for about 1km and is several hundred metres wide.

Some houses narrowly avoided being swept away when the landslide happened at 6am (local time), but locals say dozens of people have been buried.

The landslide is near one of the main work sites for Exxon-Mobil's liquefied natural gas project.

A project spokesperson says the main road in the area has been cut and work at the site and a nearby airfield has stopped.

Officials from the National Disaster Centre are expected to travel to the area on Wednesday to assess the damage.