PNG lacks search, rescue capability for aviation accidents: Minister


Civil Aviation Minister Lekwa Gure says the country does not have the search and rescue capability to carry out accident-related operations.
He was replying to Namatanai MP Walter Schnaubelt who asked in Parliament whether the country had a search and rescue centre to deal with air accidents.
Gure said there was a search and rescue centre at the Air Traffic Control Centre at Jackson airport but did not have an aircraft to be used for such rescue operations.
Schnaubelt referred to recent aviation accidents involving a helicopter in West New Britain, an aircraft which crashed in Gulf and a helicopter which crashed at sea off New Ireland.
Gure said the centre at Jackson had an office and an officer manning it.
He said an alarm would be raised when an aircraft failed to send a scheduled position report to air traffic control.
After a certain period of time, the air traffic controller tries to communicate with the aircraft again.
If there is no response, the alarm is raised.
Other aircraft in the area are alerted to keep a lookout for the missing aircraft.
“We do not have a dedicated aircraft or helicopter attached to the search and rescue organisation that can be sent out to start looking for the aircraft,” he said.
“It is important to note that the country does not have that search and rescue capability.
“Being a highly regulated industry, accidents do happen.
“And it is not the search and rescue team that causes the accident.
“They only kick in when accidents take place.
“They go into action when they have been advised by the air traffic control centre that is in communication with the aircraft.”