Indonesia Airliner Crashes Into Mountain
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
A Trigana Air Service flight operating in Indonesia’s Papua province that had lost contact with air traffic control has crashed into a mountain, CNN reported.
Suprasetyo, Indonesia's director general of air transportation revealed in a news conference that villagers in the Oktabe district saw the plane hit the peak and found the wreckage. Details are still being confirmed.
The flight, with 44 adult passengers, five children and five crew, departed Sentani Airport in Jayapura at 2:22 p.m. and was scheduled to land in Oksibil around 3:16 p.m., officials told CNN.
The plane lost contact at about 2:55 p.m., Transportation Ministry spokesperson J.A. Barata said to CNN Indonesia. He added there was no evidence of a distress call from the flight.
An initial search through treacherous terrain ended prematurely. "A search was launched earlier today, but was called off because of bad weather, and it's also now dark there," Barata said.
CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo presented two possibilities for the lack of a distress call — the pilots could have been too focused on problem solving to send one, or they just didn’t realize there was an issue.
Officials told CNN the weather was clear during takeoff in Jayapura, but CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera noted the presence of thunderstorms around mountains in the flight path.
Cabrera predicts worse weather in the next few days, which could make rescue efforts difficult in an area with peaks as high as 10,000 feet.
"The terrain is going to be an issue as well, as we have some pretty steep slopes here," Cabrera said.
Search and rescue official Ludi Yanto indicated to CNN that efforts to pinpoint the exact location of the wreckage will occur from both in the air and on the ground.
CNN pointed out that Trigana Air Service is one of several airlines banned from European airspace, "because they are found to be unsafe and/or they are not sufficiently overseen by their authorities," according to the European Commission. Trigana has been on this list for nearly a decade.
More by Michael Isenbek
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