13 killed in Indonesia plane crash
A military aircraft has crashed in Indonesia’s easternmost region, leaving all 13 people on board dead.
According to Indonesian officials, the incident occurred early on Sunday when the Hercules C-130 plane was on a training mission, carrying three pilots and 10 military personnel from the city of Timika in the remote eastern province of Papua to the town of Wamena.
The plane was also carrying 12 tons of food supplies and cement when it crashed in the remote mountainous region just minutes before the scheduled landing.
“The operator on land saw the plane at 06:08 a.m. local time (2308 GMT) but at 06:09 a.m. the plane had lost contact,” said Agus Supriatna, Indonesia’s air force chief.
Supriatna noted that among the military personnel aboard the aircraft were eight technicians, a navigator, and a military officer.
He said bad weather conditions were likely the cause of the crash, arguing that the weather around the area is known to be “unpredictable” and that the plane went in and out of clouds before going down.
Authorities said the crash site had been found and the bodies of the victims were being brought back to Wamena.
The Sunday crash was the third air accident in Indonesia in less than a month. On November 24, a helicopter from the Indonesian army crashed in the Borneo Island, killing three people, and just a week later, another plane with 13 police personnel on board crashed into the sea on its way to the island of Batam, near Singapore.
The Southeast Asian country, with more than 250 million people, has a poor air safety record, and the military, which suffers from low funding, has regularly suffered airplane and helicopter crashes.
The worst fatal incident in recent times was in June 2015, when an air force Hercules C-130 plane crashed into a residential neighborhood shortly after taking off from Medan, killing 142 people, including military personnel, family members traveling with them, and people on the ground.