Indonesia plane has crashed: Reports
An Indonesian passenger plane that recently went missing over Indonesia with 54 people on board has reportedly crashed in the country’s Papua region.
Indonesian officials on Sunday cited local villagers as saying that they had found the wreckage of the ill-fated ATR 42-300 turboprop plane.
A crash has not officially been confirmed yet, however.
“The plane has been found [by villagers]. According to residents, the flight had crashed into a mountain. Verification is still in process,” the Indonesian Transport Ministry’s Director-General of Air Transportation Suprasetyo said.
The Indonesian Transport Ministry’s spokesman JA Barata also said there was no indication of a distress call from the plane and that officials have not yet confirmed whether the plane has crashed.
It seems that Indonesian officials are incapable of confirming the accounts of the plane’s crash at this moment in part due to the suspension of search operations in the area, which came because of bad weather conditions. Search operations are expected to resume tomorrow. Search and rescue official Ludi Yanto said efforts would include a ground and air search.
The plane was on its way from Jayapura, the capital of Papua Province, to the mountainous Oksibil district. Reports said that, at the time of the incident, Oksibil had been experiencing heavy rain, strong wind, and fog.
Earlier, Trigana Air’s service director of operations, Beni Sumaryanto, said the aircraft had contacted the Oksibil control tower just ten minutes before its scheduled landing and asked to descend. However, the plane never arrived.
The plane was carrying 44 adults, five children, and five crew members.
Although the Indonesian Transport Ministry said the cause remained unknown, poor weather in the area is thought to have played a major role.
Indonesia has had a patchy aviation safety record in recent months.
Last week, a Cessna propeller plane operated by the Indonesian company Komala Air crashed in Papua’s Yahukimo district, leaving one person dead and five others seriously injured. The crash was said to have been caused by bad weather.
Last December, an AirAsia plane traveling from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore crashed in the Java Sea during bad weather, claiming the lives of all 162 people on board.