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Dublin: 15°C Wednesday 27 October 2021
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Plane carrying 54 people found crashed in Indonesia

The plane disappeared ten minutes before it reached its destination.

Photo File: A Trigana Air Service ATR 42
Photo File: A Trigana Air Service ATR 42
Image: YSSYguy/Wikicommons

Updated 4.19pm

THE WRECKAGE OF a passenger plane which went missing with 54 people aboard in rugged eastern Indonesia has been found by villagers, an official said, in the latest fatal accident to hit the country’s aviation sector.

The plane operated by Indonesian carrier Trigana Air lost contact with air traffic control just before 3pm local time after taking off from Jayapura, the capital of Papua province, the search and rescue agency said.

The ATR 42-300 twin-turboprop plane was carrying 44 adult passengers, five children and five crew on the flight which was scheduled to take about 45 minutes, it said.

But the plane disappeared about 10 minutes before reaching its destination Oksibil, a remote settlement in the mountains south of Jayapura, shortly after it asked permission to start descending to land.

Officials said initially that villagers in the Okbape district of Papua reported seeing a plane crash. The transport ministry later said local residents had found the wreckage.

“The plane has been found (by villagers). According to residents, the flight had crashed into a mountain,” said the transport ministry’s director‎-general of air transportation, Suprasetyo, who goes by one name.

Officials were still verifying the information from local residents, he said. There was no information about whether anyone may have survived.

Search and rescue teams, police and the military would head to the site as soon as possible Monday, said transport ministry spokesman J. A. Barata.

‘Dark and cloudy’ 

After the plane failed to land, Trigana Air sent another flight over the area to hunt for it but the aircraft failed to spot anything due to bad weather.

Captain Beni Sumaryanto, Trigana Air’s service director of operations, told AFP that Oksibil was “a mountainous area where the weather is very unpredictable. It can suddenly turn foggy, dark and windy without warning.

“We strongly suspect it’s a weather issue. It is not overcapacity, as the plane could take 50 passengers.”

Barata said the weather in the area had been “very dark and cloudy”.

- © AFP, 2015

First published 10.54am

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