TRAGEDY: Plane Carrying 54 People Declared Missing

An Indonesian passenger plane with 54 people on board is missing in Papua region.

Indonesian passenger plane

Aviation officials said that the contact with the plane, Trigana Air ATR 42, was lost just before 15:00 local time after take-off from Sentani airport in the regional capital Jayapura.

BBC reports that the aircraft was flying to the town of Oksibil in the south of the region and was carrying 44 adult passengers, five children and infants, and five members of the crew.

Julius Barata, transport ministry spokesperson, confirmed the disappearance and added: “We are not sure what happened to the plane yet and we are co-ordinating with local authorities.”

Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency said that the search had been suspended at nightfall because of limited visibility and would resume at 06:00 local time on August 17, Monday.

Officials revealed that a second plane that had been sent to look for the missing one, but it was turned back because of the bad weather conditions.

“Oksibil is a mountainous area where weather is very unpredictable.It can suddenly turn foggy, dark and windy without warning.

“We strongly suspect it’s a weather issue. It is not overcapacity, as the plane could take 50 passengers,” Beni Sumaryanto, Trigana Air director of operations, said.

According to the Aviation Safety Network, Trigana Air has had 14 serious incidents since it began operations in 1991 and has lost10 aircraft in the process.

It would be recalled that in December 2014 an AirAsia plane flying from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore crashed in the Java Sea, killing all 162 people on board.

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