A teen hero has told of pulling a Kiwi plane crash survivor from the wreckage minutes before it exploded.

Pilot Kelby Cheyne, 25, was the only survivor of a Transair crash on a Papua New Guinea island that killed four Australian men and one New Zealander.

Trainee carpenter Henson Jasper, 19, told the Herald on Sunday he saw the plane crash during torrential rain about 3.30pm.

"When the plane came in to land at the airstrip I saw the smoke," the Misima Island local said in halting English. "The left wing was on fire and I saw the wing explode.

"I just ran down and saw the plane. I stood and looked in and the people were calling."

He said the windscreen was cracked so he smashed it with a branch. "I pulled the pilot from the plane. He was panicked. I was talking to him and he couldn't answer me.

"I carried him out and put him lying down.

"I went back to help the others but I couldn't, because when I turned back the plane was exploded," he said.

He said other villagers helped him carry Cheyne into an ambulance.

He visited Cheyne in hospital. "I asked him 'do you remember me?' He answered me, 'I still remember you - thank you very much'."

Cheyne grew up in Dunedin and Twizel before moving to Australia in his teens. After the rescue, he was flown to Australia and has now been discharged from Townsville Hospital in northern Queensland.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Papua New Guinea is investigating the crash and has the black box. The dead Kiwi hasn't been named.