Indonesian aircraft wreckage found after mountain crash

A Trigana Air Service ATR 42 turbopropeller plane
A Trigana Air Service ATR 42 turbopropeller plane

AN Indonesian aircraft that went missing with 54 people on board has been found crashed on a remote mountainside in Papua.

After an air search for the Trigana Air Service plane was suspended as darkness fell, local villagers told authorities they had seen a plane flying low before crashing near Okbape, in the Bingtang district.

Plans for the aerial search to resume on Monday were called off, and in a statement Indonesia's transport ministry confirmed that wreckage had been found.

Earlier, news that the ATR 42-300 twin turboprop plane had gone missing was posted to the Twitter account of the state search and rescue agency (BASARNAS).

Speaking to the Reuters news agency, BASARNAS's chief Bambang Soelystyo confirmed that officials had "lost contact with plane", which was carrying 44 adult passengers, five children and infants and five crew members.

Map showing the route of the flight from Jayapura to Oksibil in Indonesia's Papua region
Map showing the route of the flight from Jayapura to Oksibil in Indonesia's Papua region

Officials said the weather had been poor near Oksibil, with strong winds and heavy rain, when the plane vanished nine minutes before it was due to land.

The plane was on its way from Sentani Airport in Jayapura, the capital of Papua province, to Oksibil, a short, 50-minute flight over land.

Transport ministry spokesman Julius Barata said the plane, with flight code TGN267, lost contact with controllers 33 minutes after take-off. It was reportedly not equipped with ADS-B tracking technology.

Indonesia's flight safety record has come under scrutiny after it suffered two major incidents in the past nine months.

Last December, an AirAsia passenger jet crashed on its way from Surabaya to Singapore, killing 162 people.

In July, a crash involving a military transport plane killed more than 100 people in northern Indonesia, prompting president Joko Widodo to call for a review of the country's aging aircraft stock.

Topics:  aviation editors picks plane crash

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