Search on for missing Indonesian plane with 54 on board
Indonesian Plane With 54 Aboard Missing In Remote region of Papua
The passenger aircraft belonging to Trigana Air Service had 44 adults, five crew and five children on flight.
An Indonesian twin-turboprop aircraft carrying 54 people lost contact with air traffic control on Sunday in the remote, forested eastern Papua region, the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) said, with search efforts hampered by failing light as night falls.
“We can’t confirm it has crashed. We can say contact has been lost with the plane,” BASARNAS chief Bambang Soelystyo told Reuters by phone.
“It’s a Trigana airline plane carrying 54 people including 5 crew. We are working to get more details.”
There was no distress call from the Trigana Air Service ATR42-300, and authorities suspended a search that was to resume Monday morning.
The plane was en route from Papua’s provincial capital, Jayapura, to the city of Oksibil in the central part of the island that also includes the independent state of Papua New Guinea.
Michael Sullivan, reporting for NPR from Thailand, says: “The plane went missing as it was on its approach to land amid heavy rain, strong winds and heavy fog, according to Indonesian officials. Papua is among the most remote provinces in Indonesia — which has a checkered air safety record in recent years.”
Indonesia has had its share of airline woes in recent years. The sprawling archipelago nation of 250 million people and some 17,000 islands is one of Asia’s most rapidly expanding airline markets, but is struggling to provide enough qualified pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers and updated airport technology to ensure safety.