Wreckage from an Indonesian plane that lost contact on Sunday has been discovered, according to Indonesia’s national news agency Antara.
Plane crashed in a mountain in Papua
The Indonesian Air Force said that a search plane has been dispatched to the eastern province of Papua to confirm that the debris was from the missing flight.
According to USA Today, Indonesian Air Transportation Director General Suprasetyo said that the villagers who found the plane said it had crashed into a mountain in Papua. The villagers said that they had seen the plane crash.
Forty nine passengers and five crew members were aboard the ATR42-300 turboprop aircraft, and what happened to them could not be immediately confirmed.
Papua is Indonesia’s largest province.
“Residents provided information that the aircraft crashed into Tangok mountain,” Suprasetyo said.
No indication of distress call
According to CNN, the flight took off from the Sentani Airport in Jayapura at 2:22 p.m. It had a scheduled arrival in Oksibil at about 3:16 p.m.
Transportation Ministry spokesman J.A. Barata said that contact was lost at about 2:55 p.m.
He further said there was no indication that a distress call had been made from the plane.
Search teams had been dispatched, and were trying to reach the crash site by air and foot, Henry Bambang Soelistyo, chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency who is leading the investigation from Sentani Airport in Jayapura, said. The debris believed to be from the crash was discovered about 12 kilometers from Oksibil.
“Smoke was still billowing from the wreckage when it was spotted by a plane search,” Soelistyo said, as reported by CBC News. Reaching the debris has become difficult because of bad weather and rugged terrain.
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‘There are bound to be accidents’
The flight, which took off in clear weather in Jayapura, was met with thunderstorms over a mountainous area along its route.
“It’s mountainous, very remote and the airfield runways are sometimes on the side of a hill, so it is not really an area for the faint-hearted to fly,” aviation analyst Gerry Soejatman said, as reported by The Guardian.
“There are bound to be accidents.”
Aviation analyst Dudi Sudibyo said the difficulties encountered by pilots are worsened by severe weather conditions
“I can say that a pilot who is capable of flying there will be able to fly an aircraft in any part of the world,” he told AP.
Previous deadly crashes
The latest crash is the third in the last 18 months.
On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 lost contact on its route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. A part of the plane, which had 239 people onboard, was discovered in Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.
On December 28, 2014, AirAsia Flight QZ8501 vanished and was later found in the Java Sea. The plane had 162 people onboard and was headed towards Singapore from Surabaya, Indonesia.
Trigana Air Service has been banned in Europe “because they are found to be unsafe and/or they are not sufficiently overseen by their authorities,” according to the European Commission.
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