A plane carrying 32 people crashed in the wilds of Papua New Guinea on Thursday with an unknown number of survivors, an official said.

The Airlines PNG Dash 8 aircraft crashed while flying from Lae to Madang on the South Pacific island nation’s north coast, Accident Investigation Commission spokesman Sid O’Toole said.

The twin-propellor plane crashed 20 kilometres south of Madang, he said.

“All I can tell you is there have been reports of survivors and reports there have been fatalities,” Mr. O’Toole said.

Local villagers told the government-owned National Broadcasting Commission there were four survivors.

Police and ambulances had reached the crash site and investigators would travel there Friday, Mr. O’Toole said.

Australian Broadcasting Corp. television cited Madang residents as saying there was a violent storm in the area at the time of the crash.

The Australian Associated Press news agency said most of the passengers were parents travelling to attend their children’s university graduation ceremony in Madang this weekend.

The duty manager at the Medang Resort, Donald Lambert, said six of the plane’s occupants, one passenger and five crew members had reservations to stay at his hotel. “I went to meet them at the airport,” he said.

More In: International | News