By ABC Papua New Guinea correspondent Liam Cochrane
A group of 30 men with guns and machetes have held up Papua New Guinea's second biggest airport, keeping passengers captive for about two hours while they ransacked offices.The attack happened at Nadzab airport, 40 kilometres outside Lae, PNG's second biggest city and the industrial hub of the nation.
Police said a group of around 30 men arrived at the airport at 1:30am, armed with pistols, rifles, homemade guns and machetes.
"The nine security guards manning the airport said they were out-numbered and ordered at gunpoint to huddle up with the passengers in front of the terminal," police spokesman David Terry said.
About 30 passengers were waiting for the early morning flight to Port Moresby.
Mr Terry said one passenger was beaten with the butt of a gun, and there were bloodstains near the ticket counter.
The armed men looted food and office equipment, smashing windows and doors.
Police said the thieves tried to break into the Air Niugini safe but were not successful
"The airport authorities are trying to see if anything major was stolen," Mr Terry said.
Mr Terry arrived at the airport at 5:30am to catch a flight.
He posted photos of the incident online, showing clothes and personal effects strewn across the airport floor, and a blackened safe that appeared to be damaged by fire.
The siege lasted two hours, before the thieves escaped across the runway.
Police are investigating.