Missing Indonesian Plane : Villagers Report Crash

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Indonesian villagers have witnessing reported a plane crash after the disappearance of an aircraft with 54 people on board in the province of Papua.

Trigana flight IL267 failed to arrive in Oksibil from Sentani as scheduled after contact was lost in poor weather 33 minutes after take-off.

The internal flight, which had 44 adults, five children and five crew on board, would normally take 45 minutes.

Trigana Air Service official Beni Sumaryanto said the airline had received reports of a crash from a village in the forested and mountainous district of Oksibil.

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Police in the village of Okbape, which is 15 miles west of Oksibil, also received reports that a plane crashed into a nearby mountain.

There is no indication the pilot made a distress call, a government spokesman said.

The search has now been suspended due to nightfall, but 150 local rescuers are reportedly on their way.

The National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) tweeted: “Because it was night and visibility is limited we suspend search Trigana Air and we continue the search tomorrow morning at 06:00 LT.”

The ATR-42 plane was built in France and Italy.

The Aviation Safety Network claims the plane is 27 years old and Trigana has had 14 serious incidents since it began operating in 1991, writing off 10 aircraft.

In 2009, a Merpati flight also went missing on Jayapura-Oksibil route. It had crashed into a mountain and was discovered after two days.

The latest incident comes eight months after an AirAsia plane crashed on its way from Surabaya in Indonesia to Singapore, killing all 162 people on board.

This prompted the Indonesian government to impose new regulations to improve safety.

The Trigana Air Service is one of many Indonesian airlines banned from operating in the European Union for safety reasons.

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