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12 people die as small plane crashes in PNG

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SYDNEY — Twelve people, including an Australian, were killed when a light plane crashed just short of a landing strip in remote Papua New Guinea, reports said on Thursday.

The aircraft was flying in the rugged west of the Pacific country on Wednesday evening when its engine failed mid-air, sending it into a nose-dive, the PNG Broadcasting Corporation said.

It crashed into a swamp close to Kiunga airstrip.

“Yesterday we encountered a tragedy, a plane crash,” Kiunga`s police commander Joe Puri told local media.

“A small plane that arrived from Oksapmin just before landing crashed into the swamp, with all the passengers, including the pilot, dead.”

The broadcaster said three children were among those killed while Australian media said the Australian on board was the pilot.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed one of its nationals was on the Sunbird Aviation flight and that it crashed on approach to Kiunga.

“We continue to work closely with Papua New Guinea authorities,” a department spokesman told AFP, without confirming whether or not he was the pilot.

“Our thoughts are with the passengers and crew of the aircraft and their families. Due to privacy obligations, we are unable to provide further information.”

AFP

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Nirmala Panta’s murder accused held after 24 days

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KANCHANPUR — Police in Kanchanpur have made public an accused arrested in connection with the murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta of Kanchanpur’s Bhimdatta Municipality.

Dilip Singh Bista, 41, of Baghphanta, Bhimdatta Municipality was made public at a press conference at the DPO. Bista was arrested on Saturday,according to the District Police Office Spokesperson Deputy Superintendent of Police Gyan Bahadur Sethi.

Nirmala was found dead in a sugarcane field on July 27, a day after she had gone to her friend’s home to get a notebook.

Bista,who was released from prison last year after serving nine years for murdering his brother-in-law Narayansingh Thapa, works as a daily-wage labourer.

According to Bista’s statement to police, he helped Nirmala fix her bicycle chain before raping and killing her on July 26. He told police that killed her to avoid being arrested again.

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