Indonesia detects crashed plane in forested, mountainous area

Indonesia detects crashed plane in forested, mountainous area
Indonesia detects crashed plane in forested, mountainous area

Indonesian search and rescue officials said on Monday that the crashed aircraft with 54 people on board had been detected in a forested, mountainous area in remote Papua province.

The Trigana Air Service ATR 42-300 plane crashed on Sunday, the latest in a string of aviation disasters in Southeast Asia.

Heavy cloud initially delayed plans for an aerial survey to locate the plane that took off from Sentani Airport in Jayapura, capital of Papua province. It was bound for the southern town of Oksibil.

“So, the approximate location is 7 nautical miles southwest from the Oksibil Airport,” Heronimus Guru, the deputy operational officer of National Search and Rescue Agency, told reporters.

Earlier media reports said debris had been spotted but Guru denied the discovery.

“No discovery yet, we have only received a signal from that location. Thus, we will be focusing our search in that location,” said Guru, who did not elaborate on where the signal came from but said it was not the signal emitted from the black box.

All those on the plane were Indonesian nationals — 44 adult passengers, five children and infants and five crew, officials of the search and rescue agency said.

Guru said the weather had been hampering the search effort.

“It depends on the weather I guess, on how long we will conduct the search. But the important thing is we have the approximate location, therefore we will be focusing our search in that area,” he said.

Air transport is commonly used in Papua, Indonesia’s easternmost province, where land travel is often impossible.

Trigana Air Service has a fleet of 14 aircraft, according to the database. These include 10 ATR aircraft and four Boeing 737 Classics. These have an average age of 26.6 years, according to the database.

The airline has been on the European Union’s list of banned carriers since 2007 due to safety or regulatory concerns.

Trigana has had 14 serious incidents since it began operations in 1991, according to the Aviation Safety Network. Excluding this latest incident, it has written off 10 aircraft.

Indonesia has a patchy aviation safety record and has seen two major plane crashes in the past year, including an AirAsia flight that went down in the Java Sea, killing all 162 on board.

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