Mass prison break in PNG's Madang province

Mass prison break in PNG's Madang province

Mass prison break in PNG's Madang province

Updated 22 March 2013, 17:35 AEST

A massive manhunt is underway in Papua New Guinea after 49 prisoners escaped from jail yesterday.

A massive manhunt is underway in Papua New Guinea after 49 prisoners escaped from jail yesterday.

PNG Correctional Service's, Richard Mandui, says the break out from Beon Jail in the country's Madang province occurred during a lapse in security while guards were changing shifts.

Mr Mandui says one of the guards on duty in a tower in the maximum security area didn't wait for the next guard to take over his post.

Audio: Kelvin Kaspar PNG prison break (ABC News)

"He left his guard tower," he said.

"While he was on the way the detainees found a gap."

He says they used an unidentified tool to cut through a fence.

Among the escapees is Stephen Tari, also known as Black Jesus, a convicted cultist and rapist.

Police have warned some of the escapees are very dangerous.

Acting Provincial Police Commander for the Madang province, Inspector Jacob Bando, says the police are working around the clock with PNG Correctional Services to apprehend the suspects.