The wreckage of a passenger plane which went missing with 54 people aboard in eastern Indonesia on Sunday has been found by villagers in Papua province, reports news agency AFP.
The plane had 45 adult passengers, five children and five crew in the flight.
According to search and rescue agency, the Indonesian carrier Trigana Air plane had lost contact with air traffic control just before 3:00 pm local time after taking off from Jayapura, the capital of Papua.
The plane, which was scheduled to complete its journey in 45 minutes, disappeared just 10 minutes before reaching its destination Oksibil. Officials said that the ATC lost contact with the plane after it had asked for permission to start descending.
The transport ministry’s Director General, Suprasetyo, said, ” The plane has been found (by villagers). According to residents, the flight had crashed into a mountain.”
The official added that they had no information if anyone had survived in the crash adding that the search and rescue teams would arrive at the crash site early on Monday.
Captain Beni Sumaryanto, Trigana Air’s service director of operations, told AFP that Oksibil was “a mountainous area where the weather is very unpredictable. It can suddenly turn foggy, dark and windy without warning.
He said, “We strongly suspect it’s a weather issue. It is not overcapacity, as the plane could take 50 passengers.”
Established in 1991, Trigana Air is a small airline that operates domestic services to around 40 destinations in Indonesia. According to aviation safety network, which monitors air accidents, the airline has suffered 14 serious incidents since it began operations.
Its appalling safety records had even prompted the European Union to ban its operation from the airspce of its member countries in 2007.