Thursday 23 November 2017

Search begins for missing aircraft carrying 10 people in Indonesia

A Twin Otter light plane, the same model of aircraft that has gone missing
A Twin Otter light plane, the same model of aircraft that has gone missing

David Kearns

Ten people are feared dead after their passenger plane disappeared over Indonesia.

Seven passengers and three crew members were on-board the light twin engine aircraft when it vanished while flying over the province of South Sulawesi.

It is understood radio contact was lost roughly 30 minutes before it was due to land in the provincial capital of Makassar.

The Indonesian Transportation Ministry confirmed a search crew had been dispatched for the passenger plane – owned and operated by airline Aviastar Mandiri.

The company, based in Jakarta, was established in 2000 and started life as a charter helicopter service before expanding to smaller passenger planes.

South Sulawesi and West Sulawesi Police spokesperson Kombes F Barung Mangera confirmed that the plane was missing.

"According to schedule, the plane should have arrived [in Makassar] at 3.35 pm, but it still wasn't there at 6.05 pm.

"The last contact made was 11 minutes from Masamba, when the plane is estimated to have been near Palopo," said Mr Barung.

Indonesia has a notoriously bad air safety record, with 59 of 63 airlines banned from flying in EU airspace.

Despite this, air travel has increasingly become the preferred transport between the country’s 17,000 islands

Passenger numbers have risen by 81 pc between 2006 and 2013, according to a report from the International Aviation Transport Association.

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