At least 40 people have been killed in a massive landslide that struck villages in mountainous central Papua New Guinea. The South Pacific island nation's National Disaster Center director Martin Mosi said on Wednesday that the landslide occurred early Tuesday near the town of Mendi. Reports say 40 bodies had been recovered and another 20 people were still missing. "It was a big landslide and it covered a big area where there used to be small hamlets, so we are expecting a number of deaths," Mosi said. "The numbers are fluctuating and they need to be verified,'' Mosi added. He said officials including Prime Minister Peter O'Neill were heading to Mendi to join rescue forces at the disaster site.