Hevilift has confirmed the pilot, of australian nationality, his co-pilot and one passenger, both of whom were PNG nationals, were killed on the accident.
William Seneka, a senior investigator with PNG’s Accident Investigation Commission, said the cause of the crash was yet to be determined but it was likely that bad weather was a significant factor.
“There was low clouds from speaking to some aircraft that flew in this morning, and it’s been raining,” he said.
In a statement, Hevilift said it would be “conducting a thorough investigation” and was “cooperating with all relevant authorities to determine the cause”.
“Hevilift’s thoughts and sympathy go to the families of those who have died in the crash and the company will continue to provide every assistance to the survivors,” it said.
More than 20 planes have crashed since 2000 in PNG, where the rugged terrain and lack of internal connecting roads makes air travel crucial for around 6 million citizens.
In July 2012, a helicopter, also operated by charter company Hevilift, crashed while flying from a drill rig site to Mount Hagen in the Western Highlands, killing two Australians and a New Zealander.
In one of the worst accidents, an Airlines PNG Dash-8 crashed 20 kilometres south of Madang in October 2011, killing 28 of the 32 people on board.
In June this year, the Accident Investigation Commission found that pilot error was a contributing factor in that accident.