Plane bound for Australia was carrying so much cocaine it couldn’t take off

In a serious oversight by the pilot, a small plane carrying a half-ton of cocaine has crashed before making it to Australia, with the weight of the drug believed to have kept the plane from gaining altitude.

The plane was due to arrive from Papua New Guinea last week with more than $80 million worth of flake but was found abandoned on Sunday afternoon with no passengers. Or drugs.

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Photo: Russell Saigomi

Oops: $80 million worth of cocaine prevents plane from making its way to Australia, with 500kg of the drug causing the small aircraft to crash.

The Cessna 402C was discovered at the end of a makeshift runway on Sunday, just outside Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. It’s believed to have first come from Australia, taking off from Mareeba in Far North Queensland and flying low enough to avoid radar detection. It was attempting to set off on its return trip when it crashed during take off.

It wasn’t until Friday night that the Australian Federal Police tracked down the drug haul, with 28 bags weighing in at more than 500 kilograms, in one of the biggest cocaine busts Federal Police have made.

Five people were arrested in Australia with links to a smuggling operation by a Melbourne-based organised crime syndicate who are believed to have ties with the Italian mafia group, Ndrangheta.

The pilot handed himself in and was charged in PNG with illegal entry into the country, as well as charges related to the transportation of cocaine.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, James Marpe voiced his concern over the ordeal, stating, “It concerns me that an unmarked small craft flew into PNG airspace and landed in an important resource project area of our country.”

He continued, “We are not a banana republic where anyone can pick up a plane and just come into PNG unannounced… we will have no place for those who think they could peddle drugs in this country.”

There’s a reason they have restricted baggage allowances on flights.