Indonesian rescue agencies are hunting for missing flight TGN267. Lost contact around 6am GMT after taking off from Sentani airport. Went missing over easternmost Papua region, failed to land in Oksibil. Officials say 44 adults on board, five crew and five children and infants. Search efforts hindered by bad weather over mountainous Papua region
Indonesian search and rescue agencies are hunting for a passenger plane that went missing in bad weather over the remote eastern region of Papua, with 54 people on board.
The plane, flight number TGN267, failed to arrive at its destination of Oksibil after contact was lost with the plane, according to the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS).
According to the agency’s official Twitter account the domestic aircraft, belonging to the Indonesian Trigana Air Service, was carrying 44 adult passengers, five crew and five children and infants.
But the search efforts are being hindered by stormy weather over the mountainous and remote region, and have been suspended until the morning.
Search area: The plane took off from Sentani airport in the region’s capital Jayapura on a flight to Oksibil, located south of the city, but failed to arrive at its destination
The Trigana Air ATR 42-300 turboprop plane took off from Sentani airport in the region’s capital Jayapura on a flight to Oksibil, located south of the city.
Oksibil is a remote settlement in the mountains, which is only accessible by plane.
But it is reported to have lost contact 33 minutes after take-off, just before 3.00pm (6.00am GMT).
The flight between Sentani airport and Oksibil should take around 45 minutes.
Transport ministry spokesman J.A. Barata confirmed the plane had lost contact and said it was supposed to arrive at Oksibil airport just after 3:00 pm.
‘We are not sure what happened to the plane yet and we are coordinating with local authorities,’ he told AFP.
‘The weather is currently very bad there, it’s very dark and cloudy. It’s not conducive for a search. The area is mountainous.’
The weather was poor near Oksibil, with heavy rain, strong winds and fog, when the plane lost contact with the airport nine minutes before it was scheduled to land, said Susanto, the head of Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency.
A plane was sent to look for the missing airliner, but the search was later suspended due to darkness, said Susanto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
The search operation will continue Monday morning, he said.
Much of Papua is covered with impenetrable jungles and mountains. Some planes that have crashed there in the past have never been found.
The government has reported that it is coordinating with other authorities to implement the search operation.
An AirAsia passenger jet crashed en route from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore last December, killing all 162 people on board. The crash prompted the government to introduce regulations aimed at improving safety.
Indonesia’s president promised a review of the ageing air force fleet in July after a military transport plane crashed in the north of the country, killing more than 100 people.
More to follow.
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