The wreckage of the missing Indonesian plane carrying 54 passengers has been found by villagers in the remote western Papua region, according to officials.
Ground control lost contact with the Trigana Air plane at 14:55 local time (05:55 GMT) as it flew from the provincial capital Jayapura to the town of Oksibil.
Fifty-four total passengers were aboard the ATR 42-300 twin-turboprop plane. Forty-four of those passengers were adults, five were children, and five were crew members. The flight was scheduled to take only 45 minutes.
However, the Indonesian plane went missing about 10 minutes before reaching the remote mountain settlement of Oksibil shortly after asking for permission to land.
— Pravin Daswani (@pravindaswani) August 16, 2015
A government official reported that no distress call was made from the missing Indonesian plane.
The missing plane was seen crashing by villagers in the Ok Bape district of Papua. Villagers later located the wreckage, according to the transport ministry’s director general of air transportation, Suprasetyo, who goes by one name.
“Residents provided information that the aircraft crashed into Tangok mountain.”
It is currently unknown if any of the 54 passengers survived.
The original search was suspended due to poor lighting at night, but Sky News reports that 150 local rescuers have made their way to the scene of the crash.
Oksibil is “a mountainous area where the weather is very unpredictable. It can suddenly turn foggy, dark and windy without warning,” according to a statement made to AFP by Trigana Air’s service director of operations, Captain Beni Sumaryanto.
“We strongly suspect it’s a weather issue. It is not overcapacity, as the plane could take 50 passengers.”
A second plane was sent to look for the missing Indonesian plane but was forced to turn back due to dangerous flying condition.
Trigana Air was established in 1991. It is a small airline that operates domestic services to around 40 destinations in Indonesia.
The company has suffered 14 serious incidents since it began operations, according to the Aviation Safety Network, which monitors air accidents.
The airline has been banned from European Union airspace since 2007.
In June of this year, another Indonesian plane crashed in the country’s Sumatra island, killing over 100 people.
Do you think there is hope for the 54 passengers on the missing Indonesian plane? Should Trigana Air be allowed to fly their planes after this latest incident involving the missing Indonesian plane?
[Image via YSSYguy/English Wikipedia]