"A villager in Papua New Guinea has found bits of a helicopter that crashed carrying a New Zealander and two Australians a week ago.
Antony Annan, 49, and two of his Australian colleagues, have been missing since they made a mayday call from their helicopter on Friday afternoon.
Neither the trio nor the helicopter has been found, however helicopter company Hevilift, which is in charge of the search, has been handed their first breakthrough.
A villager in Papua New Guinea was searching water ways and rivers when he found some pieces of plastic that were clearly from a "fly away kit" that is usually kept in the boot of the helicopters operated by Hevilift.
It is a plastic container that holds items like oil, rags and grease guns, Hevilift spokesman Ian McBeath said.
"It is obvious that it is part of the missing helicopter as it is consistent with the size and shape of the container we use for the kit and it has what we believe to be the outline of a 'H' in blue paint.
"We paint the helicopter registration number, in this case HCY, on each container."
McBeath said that when the villager found the piece, he returned to Umasia Village on the Purari River, about eight miles from where he found it.
"When search headquarters got the news at around noon local time, an aircraft was dispatched to pick up the villager and have him show searchers where the debris was located."
Hevilift said while they were searching the area another villager flagged down the search helicopter and provided a second piece of the same plastic container.
McBeath however said the findings did not indicate the men had had a soft landing.
"Regrettably these broken pieces of container would most likely indicate that there has been a hard landing and the aircraft has broken up.
"Finding these pieces means the search area has narrowed significantly, however we still have a large section of countryside to cover.
"We have been advised that there was very heavy rain in the area last night and this has most likely flushed these items out of the bush and into one of the dozens of rivulets which run into the Gipi Creek which runs into the Purari River.
"We now know that the area where we have been searching was the correct one and we can concentrate the ground search teams upstream of the location of where the debris was found, which is five miles from Bawata," he said"
Link: Helicopter parts found by PNG villager, Kiwi and... | Stuff.co.nz