Australians join PNG mudslide rescue mission

Other News Materials 6 December 2008 08:24 (UTC +04:00)

An Australian rescue team was despatched to Papua New Guinea on Saturday after the Port Moresby government asked for help in searching for survivors of a mudslide in which at least 10 people have died, dpa reported.

Managers at Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp's Kianantu gold mine said that 10 people are dead and around 40 missing after heavy rains on Thursday triggered a mudslide that engulfed a village near the mine.

The Australian contingent includes sniffer dogs and paramedics. Spokesman Gary Littlewood told national broadcaster ABC that there was a chance some of the missing would be found alive.

"Within five and six days you can find people, depending on what the environment is," Littlewood said. "If they are lost in what they call a void, a big pocket of air, they can live up to a few days. So it's necessary that we get the team in there quickly."

The Kianantu gold mine is 650 kilometres north-west of Port Moresby.