Five men have been arrested after a light aircraft carrying 500kg of cocaine, worth an estimated £45 million crashed in Papua, New Guinea.
The Cessna model light aircraft had originally departed from Mareeba Airport, in Queensland on July 26, flying at an altitude of 3,000 feet to avoid detection.
Having landed in New Guinea, it attempted to take off again from a remote runway, without success.
Police believe that the weight of the cocaine could have been responsible for the plane crashing on take off.
A spokesman said: "The Australian Federal Police (AFP) alleges greed played a significant part in the syndicate's activities and cannot rule out that the weight of the cocaine had an impact on the plane's ability to take off.
"These flights are dangerous for other aircraft as well as those on board, in addition to being illegal and unauthorised", the spokesman added.
Nobody was found near the wreckage. However, the pilot, an Australian, surrendered to his country’s consulate in Papua.
He has been charged with an immigration offence.
Five other men, all allegedly linked to a Melbourne-based crime syndicate have been arrested and charged with an array of crimes, including drug-related offences.
If convicted they could face life imprisonment.